City of Boston Files the Building Energy Reporting & Disclosure Ordinance
On February 22, 2013 the Mayor’s Office in the city of Boston issued a press release stating the filing of the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance, not unlike the energy benchmarking law (Local Law 84 of 2009) in New York City. The ordinance would require all large and medium-sized commercial and residential buildings in Boston to report their annual energy use, water use and greenhouse gas emissions to the City of Boston Environment Department starting with 2012 energy data.
Starting in 2014, all commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet would begin reporting their energy and water use. Beginning in 2016, commercial buildings over 25,000 square feet will report their energy usage.
Residential and apartment buildings will also fall under the purview of this law. Starting in 2015, all multifamily residential buildings over 50 units would be required to report energy use. Additionally, all multifamily residential buildings over 25 units have to report energy use starting in 2017.
Using the online tool Energy Star Portfolio Manager, buildings will be able to measure energy use per square foot, water use per square foot, GHG emissions, energy use intensity and other metrics relevant for comparing individual buildings to similar ones nationally. In addition to reducing emissions, buildings will be on track for saving energy costs and improving operating efficiency.
The ordinance was passed by Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston City Council to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals, improve air quality and increase energy efficiency profiles of the most significant energy consumers in the city – its large buildings. According to the Mayor’s official press release, “Buildings in the top tier of energy performance or already taking significant efficiency actions will be exempted from this requirement.”
Some buildings would also be required to conduct energy audits every five years to identify energy conservation opportunities, although implementation would not be mandatory. Looking at similar energy mandates that were passed in New York City since 2009, it becomes very clear that Boston’s built sector would follow a similar trajectory marked by a significant boost in energy savings, operating efficiencies and tenant comfort.