A Bid to ‘Shame’ Building Owners Into Energy Efficiency

None

Al Franken  at Senate Judiciary privacy subcommittee- top reps from Google and Apple as well as admin officials and industry leaders are set to testify on mobile-phone tracking on May 10, 2011.
National Journal
Alex Brown
Sept. 12, 2013, 3:24 p.m.

Can own­ers of big com­mer­cial build­ings be “shamed” in­to us­ing less en­ergy? At least one sen­at­or and a key fed­er­al agency think so, and just this week Chica­go joined a grow­ing list of cit­ies that are put­ting the the­ory to the test.

The concept is called en­ergy bench­mark­ing, and it re­quires own­ers of large build­ings to pub­licly dis­close their en­ergy con­sump­tion on a reg­u­lar basis. An or­din­ance passed by the Chica­go City Coun­cil on Wed­nes­day will re­quire an­nu­al re­ports on en­ergy us­age for all build­ings with more than 50,000 square feet of floor space.

“Good data drives mar­kets and in­nov­a­tion,” Chica­go May­or Rahm Emanuel said in a state­ment of sup­port for the new reg­u­la­tions. “[Bench­mark­ing] will ac­cel­er­ate Chica­go’s growth as a cap­it­al for green jobs by arm­ing build­ing own­ers, real es­tate com­pan­ies, en­ergy ser­vice com­pan­ies, and oth­ers with the in­form­a­tion they need to make smart, cost-sav­ing in­vest­ments.”

The Windy City isn’t the first to pass such a meas­ure: Eight cit­ies and two states, in­clud­ing Wash­ing­ton, D.C., have already ad­op­ted sim­il­ar pro­pos­als. D.C.’s bench­mark­ing man­date passed in 2008, and the first re­ports for build­ings ex­ceed­ing 100,000 square feet are due Oct. 1.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has offered an amend­ment to an en­ergy bill now be­ing con­sidered in the Sen­ate that would re­quire en­ergy bench­mark­ing for all fed­er­al build­ings.

“The main thing my amend­ment does is to re­quire that build­ing spaces that are leased by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment meas­ure and re­port their en­ergy use,” Franken said in a floor state­ment Wed­nes­day. “The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is the na­tion’s largest con­sumer of en­ergy. Tax­pay­ers are pay­ing for all of that en­ergy. We owe it to them to make sure our build­ings save as much en­ergy as pos­sible.”

En­ergy bench­mark­ing has also been cham­pioned by the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency, which of­fers En­ergy Star soft­ware to build­ing own­ers that en­ables them to track en­ergy use.

One build­ing-man­age­ment com­pany in Wash­ing­ton, Akridge, uses the EPA pro­gram, and the com­pany’s Sarah Pam­ula has some ad­vice for build­ing own­ers in Chica­go who will soon be re­quired to file re­ports. “They should start early,” Pam­ula said, say­ing it took her months cor­res­pond­ing with ten­ants to gath­er the re­quired three years of re­port­ing data. That got es­pe­cially com­plic­ated when leases had changed hands, she said.

An en­ergy-bench­mark­ing spe­cial­ist for the D.C. De­part­ment of the En­vir­on­ment, Mar­shall Duer-Bal­kind, said the ini­tial star­tup prob­lems are worth the pay­off. “People are say­ing, ‘This was really hard at first, but I’m find­ing great use in it and great util­ity.’”¦ It’s helped them in­crease their ef­fi­ciency and identi­fy prop­er­ties where they need to work.”

Not every­one in Chica­go is on board with the new re­quire­ments. Mi­chael Cor­ni­celli, ex­ec­ut­ive vice pres­id­ent of Chica­go’s Build­ing Own­ers and Man­agers As­so­ci­ation, said the pub­lic dis­clos­ure man­date “will un­fairly pen­al­ize and mar­gin­al­ize many older and his­tor­ic­ally sig­ni­fic­ant build­ings in Chica­go.”

Cor­ni­celli ad­ded: “Pub­lish­ing the scores for build­ings that simply can­not af­ford the work ne­ces­sary to raise [their scores] will not ‘shame’ those build­ings in­to achiev­ing high­er scores. It will simply im­pose yet an­oth­er com­pet­it­ive bur­den on an already chal­lenged sec­tor.”

But Franken main­tains that something has to be done to im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

“In the United States, our en­ergy con­sump­tion is about one-fifth of the world’s total en­ergy con­sump­tion,” he said. “That’s re­mark­able when you con­sider that we have less than one-twen­ti­eth of the world’s pop­u­la­tion. But a tre­mend­ous amount of that en­ergy is simply lost through in­ef­fi­cient build­ings, ap­pli­ances, in­dus­tri­al pro­cesses, and cars. Those losses have been es­tim­ated to cost U.S. busi­nesses and house­holds $130 bil­lion each year.”

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
7 REPUBLICANS ON STAGE
Carly Fiorina Will Not Be Allowed to Debate on Saturday
2 days ago
THE LATEST

ABC News has announced the criteria for Saturday’s Republican debate, and that means Carly Fiorina won’t be a part of it. The network is demanding candidates have “a top-three finish in Iowa, a top-six standing in an average of recent New Hampshire polls or a top-six placement in national polls in order for candidates to qualify.” And there will be no “happy hour” undercard debate this time. “So that means no Fiorina vs. Jim Gilmore showdown earlier in the evening for the most ardent of campaign 2016 junkies.

Source:
×