The Madison, Wis., City Council has postponed the final vote on a law to make owners of larger commercial and apartment buildings publicly report energy performance or face fines.
Instead, one alderman asked the council president to name a special committee to study the program to determine how best to reach the goals of the benchmarking ordinance. This committee will be composed of commercial real estate representatives and energy conservation experts. The ordinance was originally scheduled for a full council vote on March 4.
The ordinance’s advocates said it was intended to help building owners understand their overall energy usage, spur investment in improvements and save money. Two major cities neighboring Madison – Minneapolis and Chicago – also have requirements. However, the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and other development-related organizations opposed the ordinance on the grounds that forcing owners to participate in a benchmarking program and publicly report energy use would be costly and ineffective.
The proposal required benchmarking for city-owned buildings larger than 15,000 square feet, commercial buildings larger than 25,000 square feet and apartment buildings with more than 35 units. It included a process for recording, reporting and verification, phased implementation, and fines up to $1,000 annually.
Chamber of Commerce representatives have applauded the council, including the ordinance’s advocates, for the delay, and said they hope to come to a more satisfactory agreement.
(Sources: Wisconsin State Journal)