CITY OF PHILADELPHIA LAUNCHES BUILDING ENERGY BENCHMARKING PROGRAM FOR LARGE COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
Philadelphia, July 26, 2013 – The City of Philadelphia sent compliance notices regarding the Building Energy Benchmarking Law. It requires owners/operators of buildings with more than 50,000 square feet of indoor floor space (or mixed-use buildings where at least 50,000 square feet of indoor space is devoted to commercial use) to disclose annual energy usage and water consumption, which will be made available online. The City has launched a new website, which describes the energy benchmarking law and associated regulations in full, including detailed reporting requirements. The compliance deadline for reporting building energy and water consumption will be October 31, 2013.
“In order to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America and improve the city’s energy efficiency and cost savings, we need to make a concerted effort across the city to reduce energy use in buildings,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “By requiring the measurement and recording of energy use in buildings, people will begin to think more critically about energy efficiency. I am proud that we are the sixth American city to enact this legislation, and I hope that many of Philadelphia’s building owners will explore how to improve their energy performance.”
In order to establish data that will help drive energy efficiency improvements, the Building Energy Benchmarking Law was passed as a key step in Mayor Nutter’s Greenworks Plan. Designed to reduce citywide building energy use by ten percent in 2015, benchmarking and disclosure of building energy data will drive building energy improvements, promote transparency in the commercial real estate market, and produce potential savings for building owners and tenants.
Sponsored by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Councilman Jim Kenney, Bill No. 124028 passed unanimously on June 21, 2012 and was signed into law by Mayor Nutter in August 2012. Regulations were issued in July 2013. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), energy use in commercial buildings accounts for 17 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, at a cost of more than $100 billion per year.
“Knowledge is power. When we have information, we absolutely make different choices. This bill will provide all parties with the tools they need to make informed choices that get us closer to our collective goal of reduced energy usage and cost savings” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown. “One day we are going to hand over the keys to the planet to our children and grandchildren. We will not get a ‘do-over,’ therefore, it behooves us to do our very best to get it right; to hand future generations a healthy and sustainable planet.”
To facilitate and ensure efficient, accurate measurement and reporting of building energy usage, building owners and operators will use the EPA’s free, user-friendly Portfolio Manager tool. Building data, such as age, size, type and use, are combined with utility consumption data to generate energy performance scores based on the building’s performance relative to similar buildings nationwide. The City of Philadelphia and the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) will collaborate on detailed, in-depth analysis of results to ensure data integrity. Fines for failure to comply will go into effect after October 31, 2013.
Philadelphia became the sixth city in the U.S. to require mandatory benchmarking in 2012, joining Austin, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. Since then, Minneapolis and Boston have passed similar laws. Since 2008, the number of ENERGY STAR-certified buildings has more than doubled in Philadelphia, and the region ranks 11th in the U.S. of metro areas with the most ENERGY STAR-certified buildings (174). The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability has already benchmarked more than 300 City-owned facilities and will issue a report later this year with the findings, which they will use to inform strategic investments.
Last year, the EPA published the largest analysis of energy benchmarking to date, based on more than 35,000 buildings, that revealed an average of 7 percent energy savings over three years. For example, a study of New York City buildings after the first year of compliance with its benchmarking law indicates that even moderate improvements to the worst-performing buildings could result in significant citywide energy savings of between 18 to 31 percent.
Mayor’s Office of Sustainability Contact: Alex Dews, 215-686-4472, Alex.Dews@phila.gov