St. Louis Considers Benchmarking Ordinance

St. Louis Arch

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 a potential benchmarking ordinance which would help reduce building energy use, an objective of the city’s Sustainability Plan.

The ordinance is similar to other benchmarking measures in the Midwest, such as those in Kansas City and Chicago. It would require certain buildings to record annual whole-building energy and water consumption data into the free ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software. Under the ordinance, city-owned buildings will be required to report their energy consumption by December 31, 2017, while privately-owned buildings of 50,000 sq.ft. and larger will have until April 1, 2018. Each year thereafter, both city- and privately-owned buildings will be required to report their consumption information, which the City of St. Louis will then disclose in an annual report. An overview of the ordinance can be found here.

Benefits of Benchmarking

Benchmarking is the first step to achieving deep energy savings in buildings, which comprise around 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in St. Louis. Tracking energy and water consumption can help cities identify where to put resources to improve energy efficiency, and can help building owners understand how to best reduce utility bills for themselves and their tenants.

A study of over 35,000 buildings concluded that benchmarking alone resulted in an average of 2.4 percent energy savings each year. Utility programs can further increase energy savings by providing incentives to make capital improvements, if the building owner chooses.

What You Can Do

The Board of Aldermen’s Public Safety Committee is slated to hear the public testimony on the ordinance on Tuesday, January 10. Please email your comments here, addressed to Building Commissioner Frank Oswald.

Note: a previous version of this post contained an incorrect date for the upcoming Public Safety Committee meeting. The error has been corrected.