Tag Archives: building energy rating

Cambridge City Council Passes Building Energy Usage Disclosure Ordinance

Brian Buckley, High Performance Buildings Associate

Brian Buckley, High Performance Buildings Associate

Last week, during a special meeting of the Cambridge City Council that ran for more than six hours, through the night and into the next day, the Cambridge City Council approved a Building Energy Usage Disclosure Ordinance.  What brought the meeting beyond the midnight hour?  Continue below to find out…

First Things First: What is Building Energy Benchmarking?

Building Energy benchmarking is the process of tracking an existing building’s energy usage over time and comparing the results to similar buildings OR the same building as measured at a different point in time/modeled during design.

Portfolio ManagerBuilding, utility, and fuel data from at least 13 months of usage are collected and uploaded into a tracking software, the most popular of which is the U.S. EPA’s ENERGYSTAR Portfolio Manager. Portfolio Manager normalizes energy data inputs according to weather records and generates a statement of performance that details a building’s Energy Use Intensity (EUI). Additionally, Portfolio Manager will compare a building to similar buildings nationwide and assign a score from 1-100. Those buildings achieving a score of 75 or more are eligible for ENERGYSTAR certification.  Studies show that such certification positively impacts market value of a building.

More than 260,000 buildings, or 40% of the total U.S. commercial building space, has been assessed using portfolio manager.

Continue reading

Industry Experts Share Knowledge at Multifamily Housing Workshop

With efficiency programs across the region maturing, states and program administrators are striving to touch more customers and tackle challenging sectors such as the multifamily housing market.

Energy RatingAs part of our ongoing initiative on multifamily housing, NEEP recently hosted a workshop on Challenges and Opportunities in the Multifamily Market in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions. The day-long gathering — held in conjunction with the Northeast Energy Efficiency Summit in Springfield, Mass. — informed efforts to increase comprehensive multifamily retrofits by providing actionable information that help drive deeper energy savings.

The workshop featured three sessions: Public Policies that Value and Support Multifamily Retrofits, Finance, and Communications — giving the diverse stakeholders an overview of activities in the region and insights into policies and programs that are moving the multifamily market forward.

The 80 attendees included representatives from Northeast and Mid-Atlantic local and state government housing, finance, and energy agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), energy efficiency program administrators, financing experts, non-profit clean energy advocates, academia, consultants and other stakeholders.

Among the fantastic speakers and other experts in the room, we were pleased to have Leslie Cook, a Program Manager with the U.S. EPA; Dave Carey, Principal with Harcourt, Brown and Carey; and Andy Padian, Vice President of the Community Preservation Corporation.

Here are a few high-level gleanings from the workshop:

Building energy rating and disclosure are essential for real progress. Multifamily policy is inconsistent or non-existent throughout much of the region and to overcome that issue, the adoption of building energy rating and disclosure — at the local and state level — is imperative.

Regulation, lack of awareness and the type of financial products are issues, not the lack of capital. While adequate funding is available, demand remains low due to significant regulation in the affordable housing market and lack of incentives for building owners to pursue energy efficiency measures.

Targeted communication to owners and tenants is a must. Developing relationships, building trust, and tailoring the message for each specific audience are important. Messages about the value and opportunities of energy efficiency should be clear and simple, and delivered multiple times.

It was terrific to see the exchange of ideas from the various actors and people from up and down the east coast. NEEP looks forward to building on these insights as part of a new white paper to be released next month, Increasing Energy Efficiency in Small Multifamily Properties in the Northeast: Data, Analysis, and Recommendations for Policy Action. This paper will review the current state of small multifamily housing within the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, and seeks to building momentum towards achieving deep energy savings in the multifamily housing sector.


In Focus: NEEP Congratulates the Boston City Council for Enacting Building Energy Disclosure

Boston SealIn a 9-4 vote, the Boston City Council voted  to adopt energy benchmarking for its large buildings last week. NEEP congratulates Mayor Thomas Menino and the Council for their hard work to advance this landmark energy and environmental initiative. By enacting Docket #726, Boston will become the first city in New England and the eighth nationwide to provide for energy transparency in their buildings.

Manager of Public Policy Analysis

NEEP believes strongly that the new benchmarking ordinance can unlock tremendous energy and carbon savings in Boston’s commercial and industrial building sector, which is responsible for almost half of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.  As we have noted on our blog, evidence from existing programs suggests that benchmarking will drive significant energy savings in Boston’s building stock. And, according to First Fuel Software, almost half of savings in commercial buildings are achievable through low-cost operational improvements. It’s no wonder that such a broad array of groups backed the measure, including Boston Properties, Beacon Capital Partners, Jones Lang Lasalle, Winn Companies, as well as Saunders Hotel Group, the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, A Better City, Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission, and the Boston Society of Architects (BSA).

Building Energy Policy Associate

NEEP is especially proud of the nine councilors who supported this common-sense policy in the face of a desperate campaign to mischaracterize it by a small minority led by the Greater Boston Real Estate Board. Working together, the councilors addressed the concerns raised by residents and tenants and revised the ordinance where necessary. Contrary to opponents’ claims, property values will not be harmed and rents for residents will not rise. In fact, we are confident that the majority of building tenants and operators will achieve cost savings through energy efficiency.

We thank the Mayor for his leadership on energy and environmental policy. With building energy benchmarking enacted, Mayor Menino will leave office not only with a strong record but also an important tool for his predecessor to build upon.

60 seconds on why Building Energy Reporting is good for Boston

Testifying in front of the Boston City Hall Council is a lot like speed dating – at least from what I know of speed dating.  I’ve never had the occasion or desire to try speed dating, but after appearing before the Council recently, I think I now have a good idea of what it might be like.building energy rating

Last week I submitted written testimony and on Thursday had the opportunity – one entire minute – to stand before Chairman Matt O’Malley of the Council’s Government Operations Committee to tell him why the proposed Building Energy Reporting Ordinance would be an energy, economic and environmental policy win for the city of Boston.   Continue reading

Building Energy Rating and Disclosure picks up steam in government and corporate policies, Boston announces policy

Join the conversation in Stamford, CT on June 13th, 2012 at the NEEP Summit 

Building energy rating and disclosure policies are gaining steam as a mechanism to drive the market for energy efficient buildings and to reduce impact on the environment. Like food labels or miles-per-gallon ratings on cars, building energy rating and disclosure makes energy use transparent so that buyers, sellers, and renters know what they’re getting. When we know how much energy buildings consume, we’ll start to place more value on ones with efficient systems and lower energy costs, like we would cars that get lower gas mileage.  If we get a “low” rating on our home or building, we’re more likely to take action to make it more efficient, which could drive the retrofit industry, create jobs, and change occupant behavior for the better. Continue reading

Energy Guides for Buildings? It’s Coming!

First adopted over a decade ago in Australia and Denmark, mandatory building energy rating policies are now in place in over 30 countries worldwide. Fundamentally, rating and disclosure is pretty straightforward – we see the concept applied every day in nutritional labels on food, fuel economy stickers on cars and energy labels on appliances. Unfortunately for buildings, slapping on an energy rating label isn’t as easy as this photo illustrates and unlike national labeling requirements for vehicles or appliances, rating and disclosure policy requirements for buildings will vary substantially between jurisdictions. Continue reading

NEEP Briefs U.S. Senate on Reducing Energy in Buildings

By Jim O'Reilly, Director of Public Policy

I recently had the chance to travel to Washington, D.C. and brief U.S. Senate staff on building energy efficiency, immediately in advance of a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee vote on the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 (S.1000),  sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).   The bill just passed the Committee with strong bipartisan support.  Here is  a summary of the discussion,  and  my presentation to U.S. Senate staff on reducing energy in buildings.
Continue reading