D.C. Publishes Energy and Water Benchmarking Regulation for Large, Private Buildings

The District of Columbia has published final regulations to implement a new requirement that all large private buildings benchmark their energy and water performance annually. The final regulations, published in the DC Register, Volume 60, Issue 3, require owners or property managers to evaluate the energy and water efficiency of their buildings, a critical first step toward saving energy, water and money.

“Energy benchmarking is an important step toward realizing the mayor’s vision to make the district the healthiest, greenest and most livable city in the United States,” says Keith A. Anderson, acting director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE). “By measuring and reporting energy use in large buildings, we raise awareness of energy and water efficiency and help business owners and tenants identify ways to save energy, water, and money.”

Pursuant to the Clean and Affordable Energy Act, owners of buildings over 100,000 square feet must report their 2012 energy and water use to DDOE by April 1, 2013. DDOE requires the use of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) free, industry-standard ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software for benchmarking and reporting. Larger buildings must also submit data for 2010 and 2011; DDOE is requiring less detail in these reports. The scope of reporting expands in 2014 to include all buildings over 50,000 square feet.

Many building owners in the district are already seeing benefits from benchmarking in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and 266 buildings, representing 90 million square feet, have gone the next step and been certified with the ENERGY STAR label by U.S. EPA.

“Our “Building Sustainability” initiative main priority is to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs,” says Michelle Good, director of sustainability at Akridge, a D.C.-based commercial real-estate firm. “Benchmarking energy and water consumption gives us the ability to assess building performance objectively and measure ongoing progress. It allows us to identify areas for improvement and potentially raise the value of the properties we manage.”

Public sharing of building energy ratings will expand the benefits of benchmarking by making efficiency information available to potential buyers and tenants looking for properties that will save them money and help the environment. DDOE will publish benchmarking results online later in 2013.

The district was the first jurisdiction in the nation to require public disclosure of energy benchmarking results for private buildings. Other cities, including Austin, Philadelphia, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle, now have similar programs in place. The energy benchmarking rule is the result of over two years of extensive stakeholder engagement—including owners, managers, developers, tenants, industry associations, consultants, utility companies, business improvement districts and nonprofit organizations.

Leading by example, the district also has released the energy benchmarking results for more than 200 of the district government facilities, managed by the Department of General Services (DGS), with new or updated results for fiscal years 2009 through 2012. Among other findings, the results reveal that 11 DC public schools may be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification because of their energy efficiency efforts.

Technical assistance is available for building owners, property managers, and service providers as they complete the benchmarking process. The DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU) has set up a Benchmarking Help Center to answer questions about benchmarking regulations and ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software, and to connect them to energy efficiency programs designed to improve building energy performance.

1 Comment on "D.C. Publishes Energy and Water Benchmarking Regulation for Large, Private Buildings"

  1. The key word in the article is “Private”. Until recently a person’s property was considered his private property, with Constitutionally-set limits on government interference.

    This DC regulation, and the EPA edict and power that allows it, is an infringement that should be resisted, overturned, and defied, if necessary, to remind our leaders, and, in this case, un-elected, unaccountable bureaucrats, that the Constitution still applies, even in the city of the seat of our nation’s capital.

    If (we) property owners relinquish (our) rights without a fight, the remaining rights will have little meaning. Remember, those rights are not granted by our government, at any level. The rights we protect here in the United States of America are granted to every citizen by their Creator. They are worth protecting, and worth fighting for, as have millions of American servicemen and women around the world.

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