New Energy Reporting Regulations Are on the Horizon for Philadelphia Commercial Building Owners

Ballard Spahr LLP
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Commercial building owners in Philadelphia should be aware that in the coming weeks, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability will issue proposed regulations to implement the City’s recently enacted energy and water reporting ordinance. The proposed regulations are expected to push back the ordinance’s implementation from June 30, 2013, to October 31, 2013.

Last August, Mayor Nutter signed Philadelphia City Council Bill No. 120428-A, requiring all owners of “covered buildings” to track and disclose energy and water usage annually. Under the ordinance, a “covered building” is either a commercial building with indoor floor space of 50,000 square feet or more, or all commercial portions of any mixed-use building where a total of at least 50,000 square feet of indoor space is devoted to any commercial use.

The City’s proposed regulations are expected to provide guidance on the definitions of “commercial building” and “commercial use,” which will likely be interpreted broadly. The proposed regulations will be subject to a 30-day notice and comment period. The City will also launch a website on the energy and reporting requirements that will include links to the relevant reporting forms.

Under the ordinance, all covered buildings must register with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s online Portfolio Manager system, which tracks and assesses a building’s energy and water use. The system (and the ordinance) also requires the completion of 100 fields of information covering other property attributes, such as area, operating hours, computer usage, and heating and air conditioning information.

The Portfolio Manager assigns an individual energy efficiency score to each building and compares it to its neighbors. This score and other energy and water usage data will be made available to the public. In addition, prospective purchasers and tenants of covered buildings will have the right to receive from owners a copy of the covered building’s most recent “statement of energy performance,” which the system produces. We note that the EPA is updating the Portfolio Manager, and a new version should be available in mid-July.

Violations will subject owners to a fine of $300 for the first 30 days of violations, and $100 per day on each day thereafter.

When the proposed regulations are available, Ballard Spahr will provide a further update on the City’s energy and water reporting requirements. For further information about the ordinance, please contact Matthew N. McClure at 215.864.8771 or mcclure@ballardspahr.com, or Richard J. Slavin at 215.864.8876 or slavinr@ballardspahr.com.

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