IMT Releases Report on Building Energy Transparency

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A report released by the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) offers the first-ever national review of building energy rating and disclosure policies in the United States. “Rating and disclosure” refers to the practice of evaluating the relative energy efficiency of a building and making this information known to consumers. The policies, recently enacted into law by five cities and two states, require large commercial building owners to measure their properties’ energy consumption and reveal that data. By making building energy use and costs more transparent, these laws will encourage building energy improvements and stimulate market demand for energy efficiency. Building Energy Transparency is the first comprehensive review of building energy rating and disclosure laws in New York City; San Francisco; Seattle; Washington, DC; Austin, TX; and in the states of California and Washington. The requirements are starting to be phased in this year and will have an enormous impact on American real estate, affecting four billion square feet of building space—nearly three times the current impact of the LEED rating system. Building Energy Transparency identifies best practices that help jurisdictions overcome common challenges in implementation: for example, utilities’ energy data can be difficult to access, and many cities lack a complete inventory of building stock. IMT’s report, available for free download here, could help jurisdictions seeking to adopt rating and disclosure policies. “We are pleased to publish this report at such a significant time in the evolution of U.S. rating and disclosure policies,” said Andrew Burr, director of IMT’s Building Energy Rating Program and the lead author of the report. “As these policies continue to draw interest from states and cities across the country, we can enable policymakers to build on the lessons and best practices from early adopters.” IMT staff members have worked closely with government officials around the country as they develop and implement rating and disclosure requirements. In November 2010, IMT convened a national roundtable of senior policymakers and building energy efficiency experts to discuss implementation. Building Energy Transparency grew out of this roundtable, which was the first event of its kind in the United States. In addition to the report, IMT worked with real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis on a compact user’s guide to the requirements, which has also been released. CBRE’s “Guide to State and Local Energy Performance Regulations” can be downloaded here. David Pogue, CBRE’s National Director of Sustainability, said: “With the growing proliferation of energy reporting and efficiency standards in various states and cities across the country, real estate owners and occupants need a resource to assist them in understanding the requirements in their market. We are pleased to collaborate with IMT in developing and offering this concise, easy-to-use reference guide as that resource for our clients.”

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