Portland Likely to Require Energy Benchmarking


by | Apr 20, 2015

PortlandThe Portland City Council held a hearing last week on a new Energy Performance Reporting Policy and will make a decision whether to approve it on April 22. A spokesman for the city said, “it looks positive” that the new mandated energy reporting for commercial buildings will be approved.

If so, Portland will become the 12th city in the nation to institute such a policy. In Portland’s case, the policy would replace a voluntary program for building owners to track their energy usage.

The new policy would apply to commercial buildings 50,000 square feet and larger and would require (i) that they track energy performance using Energy Star Portfolio Manager, (ii) calculate an Energy Use Intensity (energy use per square foot), Energy Star score, and carbon emissions; and (iii) report this information to the City of Portland on an annual basis.

To minimize compliance costs for building owners and managers, the City will not require verification by a professional engineer or architect. To ensure accuracy and compliance, the City will review reported information for errors and randomly select buildings annually to check data quality.

The City of Portland will publish building information including status of compliance with the policy, building gross square footage, building type, energy use intensity (kBtu/gross sq ft), Energy Star score and carbon emissions.

If approved, the benchmarking requirements will take effect in 2016, and would begin to include buildings 20,000-sq-feet and larger in 2017.

The policy would apply to offices, retail spaces, grocery stores, hospitals, higher education institutions and hotels. It exempts residential properties, nursing homes, places of worship, parking structures, K-12 schools and industrial facilities and warehouses.

Takeaway: Energy benchmarking is required in many large cities, such as New York, Washington, DC, and Chicago. Now, the trend is for smaller cities to emulate the policy.

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