—Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Ordinance
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, residential and commercial buildings consume 70 percent of all electricity produced in the U.S. and generate 40 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Americans know exactly how much energy their cars are using, yet they know little about how much energy their buildings are using – or wasting. Seattle’s energy benchmarking and reporting program makes building energy use apparent to consumers and can unlock the vast potential for energy savings in Seattle’s building stock.
Focus: Existing Buildings
Building codes and standards for energy efficiency in new buildings will only get us so far, as only about three percent of the U.S. building stock is newly built or renovated each year. About three-fourths of the buildings that will exist in 2030 are already standing today, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASRAE). Seattle’s energy benchmarking ordinance is a direct outcome of the 2008/2009 Green Building Capital Initiative, which developed recommendations aimed at reducing energy consumption of our existing building portfolio by 20 percent by 2020. Recognizing that energy use in buildings also accounts for approximately one-fifth of Seattle’s carbon footprint, energy benchmarking is an important step toward protecting our climate, reducing energy use and saving money.
What is Energy Benchmarking?
- Benchmarking offers a quick and initial building energy performance assessment without rigorous evaluation.
- It is a management tool to identify buildings that have higher than expected energy consumption.
- Buildings with higher than expected energy consumption have the greatest potential for easy improvement at low cost and high return on investment.
Benchmarking your buildings’ energy performance is a key first step to understanding and reducing energy consumption and your carbon footprint. All buildings can track and assess their energy performance and carbon emissions using Portfolio Manager. It generates weather-normalized energy intensity (kBtu/sq. ft.) and greenhouse gas emissions metrics for all buildings, as well as a percentile energy performance score for many eligible building types. By benchmarking your building in Portfolio Manager you can:
- Track and report on electric, gas and district steam energy consumption for your facility
- View weather normalized changes in performance for individual buildings and entire portfolios
- Identify under-performing buildings
- Set priorities
- Monitor progress
- Verify improvements
- Receive EPA recognition, including the prestigious ENERGY STAR label for scores above 75
Because of the different utilities and the number of meters serving many buildings, it has often been challenging for building owners to get a true picture of how their building is performing. This ordinance will streamline that process, and put information in the hands of those who need to make decisions about investing in energy efficiency improvements.
What Does This New Ordinance Require?
Benchmarking: building owners are required to benchmark the energy performance of each building using the U.S. EPA’s free online tool – Portfolio Manager. Each utility serving Seattle has developed automated utility data uploading processes to assist you with this requirement.
Reporting: building owners are required to annually report each building’s total energy performance to the City. This process has also been fully automated, and will require no action after the initial five minute setup has been completed.
Disclosure: upon request, building owners are required to release building energy performance information to any current or prospective tenant, buyer, or a lender involved with an application for financing or refinancing of the building.
Seattle joins Washington, D.C.; New York City; Austin, Texas; and San Francisco, CA among a growing list of cities that have or are seeking to create building energy benchmarking requirements. Learn more at www.buildingrating.org.
Who Needs to Comply in 2011?
If you own a building that is 50,000 square feet or greater, you are subject to the Seattle Building Energy Benchmarking and Reporting requirement with a compliance deadline of October 3, 2011.*
*Please note that DPD has granted a six month grace period beyond the originally legislated April 1, 2011 compliance date to allow building owners additional time to comply.
Who Needs to Comply in 2012?
If you own a building that is 10,000 square feet or greater, you are subject to the Seattle Building Energy Benchmarking and Reporting requirement with a compliance deadline of April 1, 2012.
Energy Benchmarking and Reporting
Phase I – Buildings >50,000sf
- Feb. 23 to Mar. 21, 2011: Director’s Rule informal public comment period
- Mar. 17, 2011, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.: Building Energy Benchmarking open house Seattle City Hall, Bertha Landes Room
- May 9, 2011: Program launch and notification Deadline to request automated data upload from utilities Aug. 1, 2011
- Oct. 3, 2011: Building Benchmark and Reporting deadline
Phase II – Buildings >10,000sf
- Feb. 4, 2012: Deadline to request automated data upload from utilities
- Apr. 1, 2012: Building Energy Benchmark and Reporting deadline
To learn more: www.seattle.gov/dpd/energydisclosure