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Philadelphia Enforces Building Energy Benchmarking in October

Linda Hardesty

PhiladelphiaThe City of Philadelphia sent compliance notices regarding its Building Energy Benchmarking Law, which 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.

The city’s benchmarking law was signed in August 2012, and regulations were issued in July 2013. The compliance deadline for reporting building energy and water consumption will be October 31, and failure to comply will result in a fine.

To facilitate measurement and reporting of building energy usage, Philadelphia building owners and operators are required to use the EPA’s free 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 building energy disclosures will be made available online.

The city of Philadelphia will collaborate with the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) on in-depth analysis of results to ensure data integrity.

Penn State University created the EEB Hub at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard. EEB Hub, which is sponsored by the Department of Energy, performs research to develop and integrate materials, technologies, models and tools to optimize whole building energy performance.

Philadelphia became the sixth city in the US to require mandatory benchmarking in 2012, joining Austin, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC. Since then, Minneapolis and Boston have passed similar laws. And Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently proposed an ordinance that would require the city’s largest buildings to benchmark their energy use, and authorize the city to disclose the energy efficiency for these buildings publicly.

Since 2008, the number of Energy Star-certified buildings has more than doubled in Philadelphia, to 174 certified buildings. 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.

Philadelphia’s Building Energy Benchmarking Law was passed as a key step in Mayor Nutter’s Greenworks Plan. The benchmarking law is designed to reduce citywide building energy use by ten percent in 2015.

Photo credit: Rhys Asplundh’s Flickr photostream



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