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Massachusetts City Becomes Latest to Pass Energy Benchmarking

Energy Benchmarking

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Cambridge, the fifth-largest Massachusetts city and home to Harvard University and MIT, is the newest in the list of cities to require multifamily buildings to track and report their energy and water use. The City Council unanimously approved the Building Energy Usage and Disclosure Ordinance, which requires benchmarking and disclosing building energy performance. Larger commercial and institutional buildings are also included.

Benchmarking for multifamily buildings is already required in several other major cities, including Boston, New York, Austin, Chicago, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Requirements on commercial buildings also exist in Minneapolis, San Francisco and Philadelphia, as well as state--wide in Washington and California.

Benchmarking ordinances have proliferated in the past four years. City governments and non-profit organizations seeking to promote reduced greenhouse gas emissions and higher energy savings point to commercial and multifamily buildings as major users of electricity, water and gas. The Cambridge ordinance addresses energy and water use in commercial and institutional buildings larger than 25,000 square feet and multifamily buildings with more than 50 units. As with other cities, building owners will be required to use the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Portfolio Manager tool to track and report their energy use and other information to the city.

After the first year of reporting, the data will be processed and each building will receive a score of 1-100 based on Portfolio Manager’s analysis. Starting with the second year of reporting, the data will be disclosed each year on a public city website. The building types will be phased in; municipal buildings will begin participating in 2014, while the rest will be phased in throughout 2015.

Source: City of Cambridge, EPA.gov