Newman Vertical Campus

The Greener Greater Buildings Plan

ggbp image

As part of PlaNYC 2030,  New York City passed the Greener Greater Buildings Plan in December 2009. Existing buildings must now comply with emissions standards. New York City has pledged to reduce citywide emissions by 30% by the year 2030.

The plan focuses on commercial  properties over 50,000 square feet. Nearly 80% of greenhouse gas emissions in NYC are caused by energy consumed in buildings, for electricity, heating, and hot water.

Through courses offered by the Building Performance Lab, property owners can learn how to implement these standards and reduce energy costs


The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan includes:

1. The New York City Energy Conservation Code

Commercial buildings over 10,000 square feet must have submetering by 2025. Where there are several tenants in the same building, submetering will allow each tenant's electricity use to be considered individually. Tenants will be able to view their specific electric usage and identify and eliminate wasteful practices. Learn more about submetering. (PDF))

2. Lighting Upgrades

Buildings over 50,000 square feet will be required to have efficient lighting systems. All upgrades have to be done by December 31, 2022. New lighting systems must also comply with the NYC Energy Code, which follows IECC standards. The code outlines internal and external requirements for bulbs, fixtures, usage and brightness.

3. Benchmarking

Commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet must benchmark their energy use annually. They will determine their efficiency per square foot by using the most recent 12 months of energy bills from all fuel sources. As buildings make benchmarking statistics public, they will be able to compare usage and collaboratively improve efficiency. Current and future tenants and owners will also benefit from this information. The Energy Star Portfolio Manager is a useful online tool for calculating benchmarks. Learn more about benchmarking.

4. Audits and Retrofits

This law can be summed up in two words: replace and upgrade. Buildings will be required to be audited or assessed every 10 years to determine which "smart-energy saving retrofit" works best for the building type and is most economical. After the assessment, the building's systems will be replaced as needed, and existing systems will be retro-commissioned and upgraded if need be.

Any renovations to existing commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet will be required to comply with the New York City Energy Code, recently created under PlaNYC. Renovations must follow standards set by the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Roofing, insulations, windows, doors and other elements will be covered by the code. Learn more about energy codes.

The city will require commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet to conduct energy audits every 10 years to identify areas for improvement. Audits will be conducted by city-approved agencies. Buildings can then clean or replace their heating, cooling and ventilation systems to improve between audits. Buildings over 10,000 feet which are owned by the city will also be required to audit and retrocommission. Learn more about energy audits.

5. Green Workforce Training

In partnership with the real estate and labor industries, NYSERDA, and the US Green Building Council, the city plans to train workers in the skills they will need to perform audits, benchmarking, retrofits, and lighting upgrades.

6. Green Building Financing

The city plans to implement loans obtained through the Stimulus Plan to help finance compliance with the laws, up to 100% of the auditing and retrofit cost.


Timeline for Implementation

New York City Energy Code - 2010
Lighting Upgrades - 2010
Benchmarking - 2010
Audits and Retrofits - 2013
Green Workforce Training - 2009
Green Building Financing First loans - 2010