Energy Disclosure Ordinance identifies energy waste, gives property owners and tenants tools to improve energy efficiency
Mayor Mike McGinn today approved a new ordinance to identify energy-wasting buildings. The Energy Disclosure Ordinance, unanimously approved by the Seattle City Council on January 25, 2010, will give City residents and property owners the tools they need to make necessary improvements. City officials say the new ordinance is critical to meeting the City’s energy goals, while commercial property owners and energy efficiency contractors point to the economic and business benefits of the new policy.
The new Ordinance requires large commercial and multi-family property owners in Seattle to annually measure, or benchmark, energy use and provide the City with ratings to allow comparison across different buildings. Building owners will also be required to share energy usage and ratings with prospective buyers, tenants and lenders during the sale, lease or financing of properties.
Energy disclosure is one of several measures recommended by the City’s Green Building Task Force aimed at reducing energy consumption in existing buildings throughout the city by 20 percent. Today marks the first anniversary of when the Task Force provided those recommendations.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” said Seattle City Council Chair Richard Conlin. “Energy disclosure is a key first step to tap into the gold mine of opportunities to save energy and money while improving the City’s existing building stock. I’d like to thank all the members of the Green Building Task Force and other stakeholders who helped create this new ordinance that will save energy and create new jobs in Seattle.”
Commercial property managers already benchmarking buildings say measuring energy use is critical to keeping costs down and staying competitive in this tight real estate market.
“The City will work with property owners and tenants to make sure they have the resources needed to make improvements,” said McGinn. “I commend the City Council for their leadership in approving this milestone in our city’s goal of improved energy efficiency.”
“Energy costs are one of the largest expenses facing property owners and tenants. Energy spending is also an expense that can be actively managed and controlled,” said Christian Gunter, Vice President of Responsible Property Investing at Kennedy Associates, a Seattle-based institutional real estate investment advisor. “Energy-efficient buildings cost less to operate, attract top tenants, and create value for building ownership. With this new ordinance, prospective buyers and tenants will gain new information needed to factor energy use into their decisions about where to invest, live and work. If you are not monitoring, benchmarking and managing energy use, you will simply be less competitive in the market-place.”
As more building owners and managers realize the market benefits of measuring and managing energy use, more are seeking ways to improve building energy performance, from no-and low-cost measures such as retro-commissioning, to deep building retrofits – all of which are contributing to the explosive growth in green building and energy services industries in Seattle and across the U.S.
“We believe that as more building owners work to bring energy use down and make their properties more attractive places to live and work, job opportunities will flourish for companies and contractors in the energy efficiency business” said Ash Awad, with McKinstry, a leading performance contracting company based in the Northwest.
Seattle’s Energy Disclosure Ordinance builds on a state law passed last year to include multi-family dwellings and require annual reporting of building energy performance to the City.
More information on the Seattle Building Energy Disclosure Council Bill Number: 116731 .
More information on the Green Building Task Force, is posted at http://www.seattle.gov/environment/GBTaskforce.htm.
For more explanation of building energy performance benchmarking and disclosure and building energy efficiency terminology, please download the benchmarking definitions.