The number of U.S. jurisdictions with building energy-use and disclosure laws has gone up for the second time this year. Thanks to a unanimous vote on July 28 by the Cambridge City Council, the Massachusetts city of 105,000 residents joins its larger neighbor, Boston, and 11 other jurisdictions that require disclosure of energy consumption by owners of commercial buildings over a certain size, according to the Institute for Market Transformation. In April, Montgomery County, Md., became the first county to adopt a disclosure law, says IMT, which tracks disclosure policies for commercial, residential and public buildings.
As do many other local laws, Cambridge’s ordinance addresses energy and water use in commercial and institutional buildings that are 25,000 sq ft or larger and multifamily buildings that have 50 or more units. Municipal buildings over 10,000 sq ft also are included in the ordinance, which requires owners of the designated property types to benchmark annually and report their properties’ energy use, water use and building information via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager tool.
In Cambridge, the ordinance will be phased in for the various building types, with municipal buildings reporting their data by the end of 2014. Starting in the second year of reporting, data collected will be disclosed annually through a public city-owned website, says IMT.
In addition to Boston and Cambridge, Austin, Chicago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., have similar ordinances for commercial buildings. California and Washington have statewide ordinances.
Washington, D.C., was the first city, in 2008, to require commercial building owners to disclose energy use. Montgomery County passed its bill in April.
Maine, New York, Kansas, South Dakota and Alaska have policies for the disclosure of energy use in residential buildings. States including Michigan, Ohio, Connecticut, Minnesota, Alabama, Utah and Hawaii and cities including Chicago; Austin; Denver; Santa Fe; and Arlington, Va., have benchmarked energy use in public buildings.
In California, Santa Monica and Berkeley are weighing ordinances for commercial buildings, as are lawmakers in Orlando; Madison; Boulder, Colo.; and Burlington, Vt., according to an IMT spokesperson.