You are here

NAA Joins Panel of Experts to Discuss Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure Programs

Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure Programs

Washington, D.C. – An expert energy panel has determined that issues over data quality, adequate training and outreach are concerns shared by both local governments and building owners in the rollout of mandated energy benchmarking and disclosure ordinances.

The panel was part of a larger workshop hosted by Resources for the Future (RFF), an environmental policy think-tank in Washington, D.C. The workshop gathered representatives from federal and local governments, utility companies, academia, and various private sector stakeholders to discuss benchmarking and disclosure policies, and the challenges they pose.

The National Apartment Association was invited to share the rental housing industry's view on energy benchmarking. In advance of the panel discussion, NAA surveyed members in cities that require benchmarking of multifamily buildings.

The survey findings include concerns about cost, time, staff and limited expertise to implement the required programs. This is on top of the general lack of interest on the part of residents, inadequate training by the mandating government and a lack of focus on transparency in the development and implementation of benchmarking and disclosure programs.

NAA was joined by representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Green Building Council, and two private sector energy efficiency consultants for a session focused specifically on strengths and weaknesses of benchmarking as a value-add to buildings for owners, investors, and residents. State and Local Government Affairs Manager Alison Berry represented NAA on the panel.

Aside from the need for more information and training by the mandating government body, the quality of data being gathered was a topic of concern. Data quality issues are present in every city with mandatory benchmarking, even though compliance rates are in the 80 percent to 90 percent levels. With so much of the collected data being deemed unusable, it is questionable if building owners or cities can use the data to make informed decisions about operations or energy use.

Other panel discussions centered on best practices for cities implementing benchmarking policies, challenges faced by utility companies in markets with benchmarking mandates, and evaluating how to quantifiably measure the success or failure of these programs.

Source: National Apartment Association