Five Penn Plaza was singled out as a top performer after undergoing an energy upgrade.

NEW YORK CITY-Despite the neon lights on Broaday—and the city’s large inventory of skyscrapers—New York is more energy efficient than the national average. So says a new report, released by Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s office, that tracked the energy usage of the city’s largest commercial and multi-family buildings. More than 24,000 buildings that feature over 50,000 square feet were measured in the study.

The research, prepared by the Natural Resources Defense Council, showed that in the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, New York City’s buildings had a median score of 67 out of 100. The national average is 50. The city’s rankings were in line with Boston and other Northeast cities, however, where the building stock is likely of a similar age.

Still, energy use and efficiency varies due to a wide variety of factors, Melissa Wright, associate director of NRDC’s city energy project, tells “It depends on how a building is constructed, and on operations. Large chain stores with displays that are lit 24 hours, versus those that dim their lights at night and clearly are conserving [have very different energy profiles]. 

“In some of these places,” she continues, “everything is over-lit; you feel like you’re on the surface of the sun. Or sometimes during the warmer months there are pharmacies that leave their doors open with the air conditioning flowing out to keep pedestrians cool. So there’s a lot that leads to variance in the retail sector.”

On the office front, Five Penn Plaza was singled out as an example of a top performer. After identifying its energy usage at the site, the building’s ownership has upgraded common area lighting, installed occupancy sen