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News Room: Policy Watch

Energy Reporting: It’s the Law

Tuesday, November 13, 2012   (0 Comments)
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Feature from Environmental Building News
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New York City will be the first among a growing list of cities to disclose energy use data for all large buildings.

By Nadav Malin and Tristan Roberts

Laws mandating energy use disclosure are gaining steam in the U.S. as more cities and states seek to leverage these transparency requirements to drive energy savings and job creation. Instead of heavy-handed requirements that existing buildings get system upgrades or improve operations, local governments are attracted to policies with a much lighter touch: exposing energy performance to the light of day. They hope that just disclosing energy use patterns will lead to changes in behavior, and there’s reason to believe that they may be right.

Benefits of Benchmarking and Disclosure

Energy reporting mandates pick up where codes leave off. While energy codes mandate increasingly stringent levels of energy efficiency in new buildings and major renovations, they don’t address existing buildings that are not otherwise being renovated, they don’t ensure that the properties are managed for efficiency, and they don’t encourage performance beyond the code minimum.

Disclosure laws in the U.S. either require regular reporting to the government or make energy performance data available when a property is sold or leased. Most government reporting programs include a provision for that information to be made public at some point—and it is these public disclosure mandates that really get the attention of property owners and managers.

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