City buildings must report energy, water usage

The Philadelphia skyline, seen here over rowers on the Cooper River, is often hazy like this, and the city is hoping to reduce energy usage and thereby air pollution.
The Philadelphia skyline, seen here over rowers on the Cooper River, is often hazy like this, and the city is hoping to reduce energy usage and thereby air pollution. (ELISE WRABETZ / File Photograph)
Posted: July 28, 2013

The owners of 2,041 commercial buildings in Philadelphia have an initial Oct. 31 deadline to report energy and water usage at those facilities for disclosure online, city officials said Friday.

The city's Building Energy Benchmarking Law, a 2012 law designed to make big buildings more efficient by forcing owners to think about how much energy their buildings use, mandated the reporting for sites with more than 50,000 square feet of indoor commercial space.

"In order to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America and improve the city's energy efficiency and cost savings, we need to make a concerted effort across the city to reduce energy use in buildings," Mayor Nutter said in a news release.

A goal of the mayor's sustainability effort, called Greenworks Philadelphia, is to achieve a 10 percent reduction in citywide energy use by buildings in 2015 compared with a 2006 baseline. The latest Greenworks Philadelphia progress report said city buildings used 4 percent more energy in 2012 than in 2006.

The city recently sent compliance notices to 1,446 building owners.

After the first year, the annual reporting deadline will be June 30. Penalties for not reporting are $300 to start and then $100 a day after 30 days.

Alex Grella, chairman of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Philadelphia, said his group supported benchmarking but had reservations about public disclosure of efficiency scores because tenants typically bear greater responsibility for total energy consumption in a building than owners do.

"Public disclosure of a building's Energy Star score is not necessarily indicative of a building's energy efficiency," said Grella, referring to an EPA program that compares the energy efficiency of buildings.

Marla Thalheimer, director of sustainability at Liberty Property Trust, a Malvern real estate company with properties in Philadelphia, said benchmarking had been a great tool for Liberty since 2008.

"It should really move the needle for the city to help it become the greenest city. It doesn't mean every single building is going to be an Energy Star building. The important part about this is to have progress," she said.


Contact Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or hbrubaker@phillynews.com.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|