Building energy benchmarking gets underway in Washington D.C.
The heat is on for building operators in Washington, D.C.
Building owners across the District have three months to accumulate energy use data for nearly 1,100 properties and submit it to the D.C. government for mandatory benchmarking.
The final benchmarking regulations, released Jan. 18, set April 1 as the submission deadline for all buildings 100,000 square feet or larger. Data for the largest buildings must date back to 2010, for medium buildings to 2011 and smaller buildings only to 2012. All submissions must be entered into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's free Energy Star Portfolio Manager software.
Failure to provide the data will subject building owners to fines of up to $100 per day. The data will not be made public until 2014.
“We understand you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” said D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3, chair of the environment, public works and transportation committee. “Just knowing how much energy you’re using, how much water you’re using, it enables the government to make comparisons and for the private industry to make comparisons.”
The benchmarking requirement has some private property owners on edge — not only because it threatens to drive tenants from their building to a more efficient one, but because they fear it may lead to fines or higher taxes for not being green enough.
For now, Cheh said, the District should let the market decide how to deal with inefficiencies.
“That’s not on the horizon at the moment,” she said. “I don’t want to say it would never be on the horizon. I think the energy savings, the money will be so significant that it’s in their self-interest to react to these numbers once they see them. I’m willing to allow that to be market driven.”
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