Boston’s City Council Approves Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance

Mayor Menino’s Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance was approved by the Boston City Council in a 9-4 vote. The Ordinance requires large commercial and residential buildings to report and disclose their energy and water usage, and greenhouse gas emissions in order to encourage investment in energy efficiency and further the City’s climate action goals.

The Ordinance, which will cover approximately 1,600 buildings in Boston, requires all commercial buildings of more than 35,000 square feet and all residential buildings over 35 units to annually report whole-building energy and water use. As a component of the City’s Climate Action Plan to meet Mayor Menino’s greenhouse-gas reduction goals, this Ordinance will encourage building owners to participate in Renew Boston and local utility energy efficiency programs including a variety of incentives and rebates, and educate tenants on building performance.

“In order for Boston to continue to be a sustainability leader, our buildings must aggressively invest in cost effective energy efficiency,” Mayor Menino said. “Bostonians demand buildings with high performance and this Ordinance will encourage building owners to meet that demand.”

Boston joins other major cities across the country that have adopted similar ordinances including New York City; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Seattle; and Philadelphia. This Ordinance, as in these other cities, requires that buildings report their annual energy use, water use, and greenhouse-gas emissions through EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager to the City of Boston Environment Department. The City will then make energy and water use per square foot, Energy Star ratings, greenhouse gas emissions, and other identifying and contextual information for individual buildings available to the public online.

“The Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance follows the principal of what gets measured gets managed,” said Brian Swett, Chief of Environment and Energy. “Through measurement and transparency, the Ordinance will encourage cost effective building investments in energy and water efficiency that will improve building performance, save money, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The City of Boston’s Environment and Energy Services is working with local utilities to help develop a process that simplifies whole building data collection and reporting to ensure ease of compliance. If individual residential tenant data is unavailable to the building owner, the City of Boston will develop a proxy for building owners to use for their reporting.

Leading by example, the City of Boston will annually disclose its energy and water use for all of its facilities starting with 2012 building data to be released in the coming weeks. Over the next four years, the ordinance will be phased in to apply to non-residential buildings greater than 35,000 square feet and residential buildings 35 units or more. The roll out schedule for reporting requirements is as follows:

  • Non-residential buildings 50,000 square feet or more in 2014
  • Residential buildings with 50 units or more in 2015
  • Non-residential buildings 35,000 square feet or more in 2016
  • Residential buildings with 35 units or more in 2017

In addition to reporting energy and water use, some buildings are required to conduct energy assessments or other evaluations every five years to identify opportunities for energy efficiency investments. Buildings in the top tier of energy performance, those that are already taking significant efficiency actions, or those that meet other exemption criteria will be exempt from this requirement.

Widespread stakeholder engagement was critical to developing this Ordinance and this will continue as the regulations are developed. The Ordinance creates an advisory committee representing real estate sectors to provide input on the specific regulations.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through investments in energy efficiency is the largest component of the Mayor’s Climate Action Plan as buildings in Boston are responsible for approximately 70 percent of the City’s greenhouse gas emissions. Mayor Menino has established Boston as a national leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a clean energy economy through initiatives such as Renew Boston and the first in the nation green building standards for private developments. To further inspire action, Mayor Menino has launched Greenovate Boston, a new sustainability movement to ensure a greener, healthier and more prosperous future for the City.

Be the first to comment on "Boston’s City Council Approves Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance"

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: