The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) developed the Focus Programs – sector-specific initiatives including schools, industry, and governments – to promote greater energy efficiency awareness and market penetration. Performance Systems Development, together with real estate consulting firm HR&A, were awarded a Focus on Commercial Real Estate contract to encourage investment in energy efficiency by commercial building owners.
PSD provided targeted education sessions for the Real Estate Board of NY and local EPA staff to show the benefits of anonymous peer comparisons using a benchmarking portal we developed for NYSERDA. Our efforts laid a solid foundation for the subsequent introduction of New York City’s landmark energy usage disclosure mandate, Local Law 87. Prior to our involvement, there was concern among major building owners and managers that a national benchmarking tool would not correctly represent the “unique” building stock of the city. In fact, the distinctive quality of a region’s buildings has been a common concern in all cities we have since engaged. Our tool’s ability to show peer comparison of similar buildings within a city, rather than just the national comparison offered by Portfolio Manager, has done much to alleviate this worry.
In 2009, New York became the first U.S. city to begin a mandatory, comprehensive effort to reduce emissions from large existing buildings when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the passage of a landmark package of legislation to increase the energy efficiency of the city’s building stock. The “Greener, Greater Buildings Plan” contained four laws designed to dramatically reduce the city’s energy usage and provide new initiatives to help building owners finance building efficiency retrofits. Our work with NYSERDA’s Focus on Commercial Real Estate program helped provide stakeholder buy in and paved the way for the city’s groundbreaking efforts to make commercial building space more efficient.