Municipal governments around the globe are taking measures to reduce energy consumption, and one of the primary markets for opportunity is buildings. It is widely recognized that buildings in most large cities can account for up to 75 percent of the energy used in those metropolitan areas, and although voluntary measures have shown that great strides can be made in reducing the energy footprint of buildings, much of the existing building infrastructure still is operating as “business as usual.”
An estimated 80 percent of existing buildings still will be in operation by 2030. Despite increasingly aggressive energy codes, the makeup of buildings affected by code changes remains a small percentage of the built environment. In the eyes of energy policy developers, this is not enough. A rising of the tide must happen, and one of the most effective methods in spurring change in the built environment is the practice of transparent energy-use benchmarking. Why? It encourages competition, which drives innovation and ignites economies. Enter the City Energy Project.
Formed as a joint venture between the National Resource Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation, the City Energy Project aims to implement mandatory benchmarking and disclosure ordinances in 10 pioneering cities across the U.S.: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Mo., Los Angeles, Orlando, Fla., Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. The goal is to raise awareness of the built environment’s energy usage and provide a framework to spur economic growth through lower energy costs and new jobs in the energy efficiency market. This won’t happen from benchmarking alone, however. Buildings that perform below the performance thresholds will have to comply with a number of additional measures to improve their energy consumption: energy audits, retro-commissioning, or implementation of energy conservation measures. The policies in place in some of these cities and the ones still being drafted in others all vary slightly, but the intent is the same: save energy, clean up the environment and create jobs.
You can find out more about the City Energy Project at cityenergyproject.org. Additionally, results of the New York benchmarking policy can be found at http://energy.gov/eere/articles/energy-department-helps-cities-counties-evaluate-and-improve-building-energy.
For more information about benchmarking, please contact RKnoedler@hanson-inc.com or NBoyd@hanson-inc.com.