Boston Requires Full Disclosure Of Energy Use And Emissions

For as much as we share and Tweet and post our lives all over the internet, most of us still value our privacy. Especially when it comes to personal details of which we’re not particularly proud. For some of us, those embarrassing private details would include not-so-green practices. Thanks to a new benchmarking initiative in Boston, however, energy-hogs are soon to have their secret habits aired for all the world to see.

Last week, Mayor Menino’s ‘Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance‘ was voted into law by the Boston City Council. The ordinance requires all large and medium buildings or groups of buildings to report annual energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other resource consumption, to the City. Boston officials hope that by mandating disclosure, building owners will be more likely to participate in local energy efficiency programs.

boston at night

Image via Emmanuel Huybrechts/Wikimedia Commons

The ordinance was introduced as a component of Boston’s Climate Action Plan, which set a greenhouse gas reduction goal of 25 percent by 2020. The requirement will be phased in over 5 years and would ultimately apply to non-residential buildings 35,000 square feet or greater and residential buildings with 35 or more units.

“All large and medium buildings or groups of buildings will be required to report annual energy use, Energy Star rating (if applicable), water use, and greenhouse gas emissions through the Energy Star Portfolio Manager or an equivalent mechanism as approved by the Air Pollution Control Commission,” reads the project web page. All reported consumption levels will be made available online.

Buildings not demonstrating high energy performance or continual improvements or other appropriate exemption criteria will be required to conduct energy assessments or actions every 5 years to identify opportunities for energy efficiency investment. Although building owners won’t be forced to take action on the results of these audits, failure to comply with reporting requirements will lead to fines.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog