Washington, D.C., rules in favor of full disclosure of Energy Star scores

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.


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. The mandate officially makes the District of Columbia the first U.S. city to require annual energy benchmarking in buildings.

The mandate will require commercial property owners to generate and Energy Star efficiency score for their building using free online tools. The District Dept. of the Environment then makes the score available to the public.

“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, Washington, D.C.

In 2010, the benchmarking provision will take effect. Commercial buildings of 200,000 sq ft or more will report Energy Star scores, and 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.

Now, with escalating energy prices and a slumping economy, Washington’s benchmarking provision could be a harbinger of a greater national focus on energy efficiency, Majersik said.

New York City is considering standard benchmarking legislation for commercial buildings, while Minnesota recently set a statewide goal to earn the Energy Star label for 1,000 commercial buildings in the next two years. Ohio and Denver, have both pledged to benchmark municipal facilities. And about the same time the Washington provision kicks in, California will require property owners to disclose Energy Star scores to prospective buyers, lessees, or lenders prior to a building sale or other transaction involving their property.

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