A new ordinance just passed in Salt Lake City will require the owners of commercial buildings larger than 25,000 feet to provide the city with annual measurements of their energy usage, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The new rule is part of the city’s goals to use 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2032 and achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 compared to a 2009 baseline. Non-residential buildings in the city are responsible for 51% of the local carbon footprint, according to the nonprofit Utah Clean Energy.
The final approved ordinance also says that the city will only publish the energy scores for large buildings that are more efficient than 50% of similar buildings nationwide, the Salt Lake Tribune’s Matthew Piper reported. Other building owners can choose whether to make their energy scores public. Potential retrofits and upgrades identified during energy use assessments will all be voluntary. Energy benchmarking for buildings is free through the Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool.
The city ordinance grants exceptions to tax-exempt buildings and places of worship. Large municipal buildings are also required to report energy usage.
Currently the plan is for the new rule to be phased in over the course of three years, with owners of buildings larger than 50,000 square feet reporting energy usage in May 2019. Owners of smaller buildings that fall under the ordinance won’t need to report until May 2020, according to the paper.
“City staffers project that each year, the ordinance will save local building owners $15.8 million while cutting 29 tons of pollutants,” Piper wrote.
Salt Lake City is a participant in City Energy, a joint national project of the NRDC and IMT that aims to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, creating healthier and more prosperous American cities. The city also launched Project Skyline, an initiative intended to cut energy waste in local buildings through accelerated investment in energy efficiency and public awareness. Energy Star-certifiable buildings that receive a score of 75 or above will become contenders for the Skyline Challenge Awards honoring energy efficiency leaders in Utah, according to the city.