Friday, January 01, 2010

Commercial Buildings in D.C. Can Compare Energy Bills

The District of Columbia's "Clean and Affordable Energy Act" aims to motivate property owners to adopt energy-efficient technologies by making their monthly power bills a matter of public record. Companies seeking to lease space in Washington's large commercial buildings will be able to compare the size of their future energy bills at various rental properties. The Center supports this law.

D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), co-authored the legislation. Beginning in 2010, property managers who oversee buildings with more that 200,000 square feet of office space are required by law to record energy and water usage rates on a Web site run by the Environmental Protection Agency. In coming years, smaller commercial buildings will also be required to participate in the program.

New York City has passed a law that takes Washington's legislation a step further by also requiring multifamily dwellings to record their energy consumption rates.

In both cities, the information will be stored online and accessible to all at a site run by the EPA's "Energy Star" program, which assigns buildings a rating of 1 to 100, based on how their energy efficiency compares with similar buildings in the country. For District property managers who enroll in the EPA program in January, their building's "Energy Star" rating will become public record starting in 2012 -- a delay that will give owners time to install energy-efficient technologies.

It is estimated that a building with a "95" rating from the EPA's "Energy Star" program would typically save a tenant about $1.30 per square foot in annual energy bills over the national average for a similar building. (WashPost, 1/1/10)

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