Measuring Energy Use — The New Era of Building Benchmarking is Here. Are You Ready?
Lane Powell Shareholder Mike Nesteroff authored an article in Seattle Business magazine’s November 2013 issue titled “Measuring Energy Use — The New Era of Building Benchmarking is Here. Are You Ready?” In the article, Nesteroff discussed Washington state and the City of Seattle’s energy benchmarking requirements that mandates building owners to track and report the energy performance of their buildings. The purpose of these ordinances is to promote energy efficiency by providing a score that allows for comparisons between buildings. The Washington law requires that all state government buildings and commercial buildings greater than 10,000 square feet collect energy consumption data; and the City of Seattle requires all nonresidential and multifamily buildings within city limits greater than 20,000 square feet to report the data.
The state of Washington and the City of Seattle are among the pioneers in requiring that building owners track and report energy performance — known as benchmarking — and disclose that data to potential buyers, renters or lenders. When the state and the city adopted their benchmarking requirements in 2009 and 2010, respectively, only Austin, New York City and the state of California had similar policies in place. Since then, several more cities and states around the country have jumped on the bandwagon. While benchmarking is considered an important tool in encouraging energy efficiency, it also can present traps for the unwary.