Council approves energy reporting ordinance

The city will now have a mechanism in place to monitor the energy consumption and pollution coming from its largest commercial, industrial, and residential buildings.

Monday night, the City Council approved an ordinance establishing building energy reporting and disclosure requirements. The ordinance will require buildings of more than 20,000 gross square feet, or residential developments with more than 20 units, to report their energy consumption to the city. 

“All this is is a reporting requirement,” said City Manager Thomas Ambrosino. “If you pass this, all you are saying to the largest property owners that make up just 7 percent of our city is that they have to report this information to us. For almost all of this, the information is readily available and they have files on it; this would simply require them to report it.”

That 7 percent of property owners is responsible for almost half the gross developed square footage in the city.

With the information, Ambrosino said the city could then identify the largest energy users in the city and assist them in cutting down on pollution and increasing energy efficiency.

“The main benefits from a municipality’s perspective is that this allows us to see who the largest energy consumers and polluters are, and we want these property owners to reduce pollution and energy consumption,” said Alex Train, the city’s director of housing and community development.

Train said the city could help the property owners and building managers by pointing them in the direction of more energy efficient fixtures or potential state and federal funding for energy upgrades.

“Given the limited amount of money for energy efficiency and pollution reduction, we really want to be prudent with how we utilize these resources,” said Train. “This allows us to utilize those resources to strategically target the worst polluters and the highest energy consumers to ensure that they are using energy efficiency measures wisely.”

The city will identify the building owners who need to participate in the program and offer technical assistance if needed. The energy information that is requested will then be uploaded into an EnergyStar Portfolio Manager program.

Single family and two-family homes, as well as triple deckers and owner-occupied buildings will be exempt from the reporting requirements. Residential buildings that fall under the ordinance have a minimum of 20 units and 20,000 gross square feet of area, excluding parking.

Train said the ordinance is part of a larger zero carbon action plan in the city.

“The plan sets out strategies and actionable recommendations to achieve a zero carbon economy by or before 2050,” said Train. “It tackles everything from the transportation sector to commercial and industrial buildings.”

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