Today, Mayor Menino forwarded to the Boston City Council proposed amendments to the City of Boston Code that would require owners of many city buildings to report their energy and water use annually.  That information would then be made available to the public – presumably so that the market can work its magic and informed consumers can put pressure on building owners to increase the efficiency of their buildings.

Key aspects of the proposal include the following:

  • Non-residential buildings of at least 50,000 square feet would be required to report beginning in 2014.  Non-residential buildings of at least 25,000 square feet would be required to report beginning in 2016.
  • Residential buildings of at least 50 units or 50,000 square feet would be required to report beginning in 2015.  Residential buildings of at least 25 units or 25,000 square feet would be required to report beginning in 2017.
  • Owners would have to report energy and water use “and other building characteristics necessary to evaluate absolute and relative energy use intensity.”
  • Owners would have to perform energy audits at least every five years.
  • Where owners have tenants that are separately metered, owners would have to request relevant information from tenants and tenants would have an obligation to supply the requested information.
  • The City will annually disclose, for each subject property, “energy intensity, greenhouse gas emissions per square foot, Energy Star rating, where available, and water consumption per square foot.”
  • There are enforcement provisions, which include injunctive relief and very modest potential penalties.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the future.  Whether, at some point down the road, the City starts regulating energy use intensity is a question for another day, but energy reporting will soon be a fact of life in Boston and, over time, other cities as well.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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