What do those building grades mean?
BY HARRY PARKER
New York City’s new environmental
grading system is being met with
mixed reactions from building
owners. The new system gives buildings
across NYC grades ranging from A to F,
depending on various factors including
energy and water consumption.
The grading system is part of the City’s
Climate Mobilization Act, passed by the
City Council in April 2019 as part of the
Mayor’s New York City Green New Deal.
The grades are meant to spur renovations
and process improvements at sites across
the city that exceed 25,000 square feet.
“Our letter grade signs provide a new
level of transparency for building energy
emissions, giving owners and tenants information
they need to take action to reduce
their energy consumption,” said City’s
Department of Buildings (DOB) Spokesperson
Andrew Rudansky. “The public has
a right to know which large buildings in
our city are taking their commitment to
An energy effi ciency score is the Energy
Star Rating that a building earns using the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) online benchmarking tool, Energy
Star Portfolio Manager, to compare building
energy performance to similar buildings
in similar climates.
However, Jordan Barowitz, Vice
President of Public Affairs for the Durst
This building received a D grade in the City’s new environmental grading
Organization – a building ownership and
management company – says the grading
efforts are misleading and have failed to
refl ect the true sustainability and green
infrastructure in many buildings across
“The problem is that the metric doesn’t
measure effi ciency,” Jordan said. “It actually
punishes effi ciency.”
Barowitz says the methodology favors
buildings that use less energy, without
factoring in how many people are using
the space, or without acknowledging
PHOTO BY HARRY PARKER
the effi ciency of the building’s energy
Barowitz points to One Bryant Park, a
Durst property. While currently unscored
on the Mayor’s Offi ce of Sustainability
website, Barowitz says the building has
been justly recognized.
One Bryant Park has a LEED Platinum
certifi cation from the US Green Building
Council, the highest marks a building can
receive from the Council. The building has
an onsite cogeneration plant that Barowitz
says is state-of-the-art in green technology,
as well as onsite water fi ltration and recycling
Despite these investments, Barowitz says
the City’s new system has failed to reward
them with a suffi cient grade.
Daniel Zarrilli, the former Chief Climate
Policy Advisor to Mayor Bill De Blasio,
and architect of much of the City’s green
initiatives, says that the grading is key for
transparency and disclosure, to educate
both owners and tenants alike.
“The impact that I’ve seen is when the
CEO or the building owner walks into the
lobby and sees the score, it kind of gets their
attention. And so it has the effect of getting
them to ask the question of, ‘Hey, why are
we, you know, why is my score, whatever it
is? And what can we do to fi x it?’ Because
I think they see the public impact of that.”
But Barowitz says the system has failed
to engage tenants the way they intended.
“There have been tenants who have
asked us about it. Inquiries sure,” Barowitz
said of their largest tenant, Bank of
America, which rents about 1.5 million
square feet in the building. “Their operations
and real estate people are pretty,
pretty sophisticated. So they understand
The NYC Department of Buildings
and the Mayor’s Offi ce of Sustainability
did not respond to direct questions about
complaints from building owners, and
whether their system accurately refl ected
the state of the City’s building stock.
Dig in! Restaurant Week returns with 500+ eateries participating
BY KEVIN DUGGAN
Time to grab some grub!
NYC Restaurant Week will
return with deals and discounts at
more than 500 eateries in the fi ve boroughs
for fi ve weeks starting July 19, Mayor Bill
de Blasio announced July 12.
“Think about restaurants you’ve always
wanted to go to — here’s the opportunity
to experience them,” de Blasio said at his
daily press briefi ng.
The initiative by NYC & Company,
the city’s offi cial tourism arm, will offer
lunches, brunches, and dinners priced at either
$21 or $39 at almost 530 participating
businesses through Aug. 22, and reservations
opened Monday, July 12.
Diners can also buy a $125 Signature
Dining Experience package offering three
or more courses and “enhancements,” according
to offi cials.
“We are delighted to invite diners to make
plans now to dine out often and experience
the diversity of cuisines that make New York
Tasty grub from LoLo’s Seafood Shack in Harlem.
City the restaurant capital of the world,” said
NYC & Company chief Fred Dixon. “Accompanied
with vibrant open streets and
rich cultural activity returning across the
fi ve boroughs, the options this summer are
endless and the time to visit is now.”
The tourism agency’s website offers
curated collections to choose from, such
as NYC Classics, James Beard Honorees,
As Seen on TV, or Date Night.
The state’s outdoor dining regulations
were recently codified by Governor
Andrew Cuomo for another year, giving
restaurants a further lifeline after a tough
One Manhattan City Council member
urged constituents to get out and patronize
the businesses, to help them continue to
“This is a big moment where we can now
really tell New Yorkers to go out, enjoy your
favorite restaurants, go out and enjoy this
beautiful city of ours and to make sure that
our recovery lifts all of our restaurants and
bars up at a really important moment,”
said Council Member Keith Powers at de
Blasio’s press conference.
To make a reservation, visit www.nycgo.
com/restaurantweek. Restaurants can also
still sign up to join the program for free
through July 16 at nycgo.com/rw-signup.
12 July 15, 2021 Schneps Media