Summer is just getting into full swing, and across the country some communities are already roasting. Perhaps uncoincidentally, the process to adopt energy benchmarking policies is also heating up. Because buildings contribute to a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions, benchmarking policies are often part of city and state energy and climate plans. By tracking reliable and consistent energy consumption data, these policies can enable better decision-making around building energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Benchmarking & Energy Data
Big cities aren’t the only ones making sustainable communities a priority.
On June 4, 2019, the Edina, MN City Council approved the Efficient Building Benchmarking Ordinance encouraging building owners to track and reduce their energy use. The initiative requires owners of existing commercial and multifamily buildings over 25,000 square feet to benchmark their building's energy d ata. Edina is now the second city in Minnesota (after nearby Minneapolis) to require benchmarking.
Des Moines, Iowa joined the ranks of some of the most sustainability-conscious cities in the Midwest when the city council adopted a new benchmarking ordinance on June 3, 2019. The ordinance will require all city-owned buildings and privately-owned commercial and multifamily buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to report their energy and water usage to the city. Currently, large buildings in Des Moines account for 56% of greenhouse gas emissions, and this initiative will aid in the city’s goal of reducing their emissions 28% by 2025.
The 9th annual Midwest Building Energy Codes Conference has come and gone. This year, the conference was held at the Magnolia Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri from November 28-29. With one of the highest turn outs yet, this year’s conference was one of the best yet, filled with great discussion, networking and insights into energy codes.
Couldn’t make it? Find out what you missed and download the speaker presentations below.
This year's Midwest Energy Solutions Conference (MES) incorporated interactive workshops into its agenda for the first time ever, and one of the three workshops focused on Net Zero Energy (NZE) in the Midwest. MEEA staff wanted attendees to consider what Net Zero Energy means for energy efficiency (EE) in the Midwest specifically. (For the purposes of the workshop, “NZE” was referring to any building, development or community that does not use more energy than it produces. See DOE’s NZE definitions).
Improving energy performance in buildings is a key strategy for the City of Chicago, which has committed to upholding the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. This includes a 26-28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025; the city is currently 40% of the way to meeting that goal. Because the energy used in buildings accounts for over 70% of the city’s current greenhouse gas emissions, reducing building energy use is essential to meeting this goal.
This toast was delivered by MEEA Building Policy Manager Alison Lindburg before the wedding of a fellow codes team member. We liked it so much, we wanted to share that lovin' feeling with you.
Marriage is like a home built to code:
First you build the foundation, which means you need a good solid material – ie, the marry the right person!
Insulation is very important – be sure to make your partner feel protected and warm, and most importantly, always be installed on the right side (which is theirs)!
The “Building Energy Awareness” ordinance requires certain buildings to record annual whole-building energy and water consumption data into the free ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software. City-owned buildings will lead the way benchmarking in the first year under the ordinance. Privately-owned commercial buildings 50,000 sq.ft. and larger will need to comply by April 1, 2018. Both city- and privately-owned buildings will be required to report their consumption information each year thereafter.
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.