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Building Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure is Adopted by the City of Minneapolis

On Friday, the City of Minneapolis announced the adoption of a new ordinance, which requires public disclosure of commercial building energy consumption data to consumers and potential purchasers. The ordinance, unanimously passed by the Minneapolis City Council, is the first Commercial Building Rating and Disclosure Ordinance to be enacted the Midwest region.

While the ordinance creates a framework for energy use disclosure, it does so without relying on performance or regulatory mandates to increase energy performance awareness. As such, it will depend on market forces to motivate building owners to invest in energy efficiency improvements. Currently, there are many opportunities already available for commercial building owners to evaluate their present energy use and benefit from existing utility incentive programs from Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy. This ordinance builds on these efforts with its ultimate goal to increase the energy efficiency of existing buildings in the commercial real estate marketplace by providing consistent data to potential building purchasers and tenants, as well as current building operators.

Using EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to track and disclose energy use information, the City will publically disclose an annual summary of statistics for each applicable building. This information will include the energy use intensity (or EUI, combining electricity, natural gas, and other fuel types together and expressed in the kBtu per square foot per year).In addition, the building’s energy performance score, when available, as well as the annual greenhouse gas emissions, and water use per gross square foot will be disclosed. Information will be compiled and made available to the public via the City’s website.

The energy disclosure process will be gradual, with City of Minneapolis buildings over 25,000 sqft reporting in 2013 and all City building data available by 2014. Commercial buildings over 100,000 sqft will be required to report their energy consumption data in 2014, while buildings greater than 50,000 sqft will report in 2015. Information will not become public until a year after submission. For more information on this proposed ordinance, see the City of Minneapolis website.

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), along with a large group of local stakeholders including Fresh Energy, the Great Plains Institute, Center for Energy and Environment, U.S. Green Building Council MN Chapter, Minnesota ASHRAE Chapter, MN Pollution Control Agency Green Building Program, Sierra Club North Star Chapter, and SEIU Local 26, as well as national partners NRDC, IMT, and EPA, assisted the City of Minneapolis to develop and pass this ordinance.