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Benchmarking Heats up in the Midwest

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In the last month, energy benchmarking at the city level has really heated up in the Midwest. Benchmarking policies have proven to be a crucial first step to achieving energy savings for cities. Buildings comprise around 40 percent of the total energy consumption in the United States.

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City is preparing for its first privately-owned buildings to report under the Kansas City Energy Empowerment Ordinance. All non-municipal buildings (institutional, commercial, and multifamily residential) of at least 100,000 square feet must submit their energy and water consumption data by May 1, 2017.

In preparation for the reporting deadline, MEEA, the US Green Building Council – Central Plains chapter and the Kansas City Energy Project are providing free benchmarking technical support for multifamily buildings on January 25, 2017. Attendees will learn how to use the free ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software and even set up their own buildings with the help of energy professionals. Space is limited; click here to sign up for this free event.

St. Louis, MO

St. Louis, Missouri is aiming to become the fifth city in the Midwest with a mandatory energy benchmarking ordinance. On December 9, 2016, Alderman John Coater introduced the potential benchmarking ordinance, which unanimously passed the Board of Aldermen’s Public Safety Committee on January 10, 2017. It will likely be voted upon by the city council on January 17th.

If the ordinance passes, city-owned buildings, and privately-owned buildings 50,000 sq.ft. and larger will be required to report their annual whole-building energy and water consumption data into the free ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software. The ordinance would help reduce building energy use, which is an objective of the city’s Sustainability Plan. Read more about the ordinance here.

Evanston, IL

On December 12, 2016, the Evanston City Council voted 7-2 to pass the Building Energy and Water Benchmarking Ordinance that had been in development since March 2015. The ordinance will help Evanston meet energy goals by requiring city buildings and buildings over 20,000 square feet (besides small condos) to report annual energy and water consumption. Buildings will be phased in according to size, with the first phase of buildings beginning to report June 30, 2017.

Chicago, IL

Chicago released their 2016 Energy Benchmarking Report and the second annual release of building-level energy performance data for properties reporting under the Chicago Benchmarking Ordinance. The ordinance now covers more than 3,500 properties across Chicago, and boasts a 91% reporting rate. Initial analysis also indicates that regular energy tracking and reporting is having a significant impact on supporting energy reductions, with potential to achieve additional energy savings of over $200 million a year across the city. The next reporting deadline for all buildings covered by the ordinance is June 1, 2017.