D.C. to reveal energy performance data for 200 facilities
The District of Columbia on Wednesday posted energy performance data for nearly 200 of its municipal facilities to a public web site, a measure of energy transparency that only a few governments in the nation have taken.
According to the Institute for Market Transformation, this year, the District used free software available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program to comparatively rate the energy performance of its buildings against similar buildings nationwide, a process known as benchmarking. The results raised a number of red flags, indicating that many District-owned facilities – including schools, police and fire stations, and some office buildings – consume far more energy than the national average for similar buildings. The District’s annual energy bill for its buildings is about $80 million.
Using federal stimulus funds, the District plans to conduct hundreds of detailed energy audits on its facilities in 2011 and 2012 to pinpoint and begin delivering cost-effective energy efficiency improvements. The initial ENERGY STAR benchmarking data will help the District prioritize audits, while ongoing benchmarking will allow the District to track energy performance, set improvement goals and demonstrate improvements over time.
ENERGY STAR benchmarking is becoming standard practice for many private building owners, major commercial real estate services firms, federal agencies and state and local governments to help measure and reduce energy consumption in commercial property operations. More than 16 billion of square feet of U.S. commercial floor space was benchmarked over the past decade, according to figures released this year by ENERGY STAR.
The energy rating and public disclosure of government buildings is required under the Clean and Affordable Energy Act, passed by the DC Council in 2008. The law also requires the annual energy rating and disclosure of large, privately owned commercial buildings and new construction. That requirement is being phased in over the next four years.
The District law served as the basis for a similar measure that passed in New York City and a bill that was introduced this month in San Francisco. IMT helped develop the rating and disclosure provisions in the District and New York City, and is working under contract to the California Energy Commission on rating and disclosure procedures for existing buildings. IMT is providing policy development or implementation guidance for similar measures in a number of other states and cities.