Washington, D.C., requires disclosure of Energy Star scores

Included in The Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008, the provision is the first in the nation to require annual disclosure of Energy Star scores by building owners.


The DC Council unanimously passed The Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008, which includes the benchmarking mandate that building owners annually reveal Energy Star scores. District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty l transparency in the building industry. Beginning in 2010, it would require commercial property owners to generate an Energy Star efficiency score for their buildings using free online tools provided by the Energy Star program. That score would be made available to the public by the District Dept.of the Environment.


"It's the old Peter Drucker quote: 'You can't manage what you don't measure,' " said Cliff Majersik, the program director for the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), a Washington-based energy efficiency and green building advocacy group, who helped craft the benchmarkinglegislation.


But as sustainability makes deeper inroads into the building industry, owners are at least becoming curious. More than 60,000 buildings representing 8 billion square feet of U.S. property have been measured so far through Energy Star.
"The desire from individuals and organizations that want to fight climate change and global warming is becoming much more," said Jean Lupinacci, director of Energy Star Commercial and Industrial markets . But, she said, that attitude is still far from universal. "Others don't understand how energy efficiency relates to their bottom line. Some just don't know how to get started."
Because of that, the Energy Star provision does not require buildings to earn the actual Energy Star label, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's recognition for buildings that not only benchmark, but also demonstrate a high level of energy efficiency (a minimum benchmark score of 75) through management practices and retrofits.
Energy Star scores are calculated based on building size, hours of operation, the number of employees and computers, and 12 consecutive months of utility bills.
The benchmarking provision will also be phased in slowly. In 2010, the first year it takes effect, commercial buildings of 200,000 sq ft or more will begin reporting Energy Star scores. The size requirement will drop each year by 50,000 sq ft until 2013, when all commercial buildings of at least 50,000 sq ft will require benchmarking.
All district-owned buildings of at least 10,000 sq ft will begin reporting scores next year.
This legislations is expanding to other areas of the country. New York City is considering standard benchmarking legislation for commercial buildings, which is supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, while the state of Minnesota recently set a statewide goal to earn the Energy Star label for 1,000 commercial buildings in the next two years. The state of Ohio, and the city of Denver, have both pledged to benchmark municipal facilities.
And about the same time the Washington, D.C.,
But Washington, D.C., will remain near the head of the pack. This fall, as called for under Washington's Green Building Act of 2006, the DC Council will consider a package of building code revisions that could improve baseline energy efficiency standards (residential and commercial) by nearly 30%, and require other measures to improve water efficiency.
"It's all about transparency and valuing energy appropriately," Lupinacci said. "It affects the value of the building and it affects the environment. And people are becoming very interested in both of those pieces."

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