Buildings use more energy than any other sector–comprising 40 percent of total U.S. power consumption. Within the past couple of years, eight cities and two states have passed legislation that will help determine just where all of that energy is going. The new policies are helping to drive energy efficiency gains in the built environment–but they require increasingly complex regulatory reporting, especially from multi-site (and multi-state) organizations.
Now, Ecova, a Spokane, Wash.-based provider of technology-optimized solutions for saving resources, is offering a regulatory reporting service to help enterprises keep up with the new and changing mandates, maintain compliance, and avoid fines.
Typical Program Requirements
Specifically, benchmarking currently is being required by the cities of Austin, Boston, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., and by the states of California and Washington.
For example, in New York City, where the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan was passed by the City Council on December 9, 2009, large commercial and multi-tenant buildings are now required to:
- Disclose energy performance and water consumption;
- Participate in periodic energy audits and building "tune-ups" known as retro commissioning;
- Deploy lighting upgrades;
- Sub meter large tenant spaces; and
- Adopt improvements to the city’s building energy code.
The rating and disclosure provision of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan requires annual benchmarking and public disclosure using the federal ENERGY STAR program for city buildings as well as large commercial and multifamily buildings. Annually on May 1, benchmarking information is required to be reported through Energy Star Portfolio Manager in the form of a Compliance Report that is filed with the New York City Department of Finance.
A Growing Trend
This trend is expected to continue, with several additional cities and multiple states expressing interest or considering similar requirements. Additionally, the minimum size of buildings required to report is trending lower. As the largest ENERGY STAR (News - Alert) reporting provider—benchmarking more than 40,000 buildings each month in ENERGY STAR—Ecova says that it is well-suited to provide this service to clients.
“With the added requirements for ENERGY STAR reporting, we simply do not have the internal resources or expertise to handle these growing and changing needs. With differences in the reporting cycles, building size, and number of cities requiring reporting it’s difficult to staff for and stay up-to-date on new and changing legislation,” said Alan Grossman, CFO of Operations for Public Storage, which operates over 2,200 unique and diverse company-owned locations in the United States and Europe. “The right solution for us was to leverage our existing relationship with Ecova to have them handle the reporting requirements. Ecova has our energy database already — and is a valued ENERGY STAR partner. It has been very simple for us to turn this over to Ecova and let them use the reporting platform to assure we will be in compliance.”
ENERGY STAR reporting provides an opportunity to benchmark buildings, which brings visibility into how sites are performing. This kind of benchmarking is a great first step in targeting those sites that should be reviewed further and potentially designated for efficiency improvement or best practice recommendations. ENERGY STAR reporting will provide multi-site companies with visibility into building performance relative to similar building types by industry and provides focus for energy efficiency efforts.
“Several studies have shown that setting benchmarks and comparing against peer groups leads to greater efficiency improvements,” said Bob Zak, senior vice president of Facility Solutions for Ecova. “Working with companies like Public Storage, we are reducing energy consumption in buildings across the country. Our long history and expertise with ENERGY STAR reporting shows that benchmarking works to reduce energy use, and we are excited for the increased impact these new regulations can have on energy efficiency.”
Edited by Alisen Downey