2 tips on Portfolio Manager
1. A Look At Chicago's Proposed Energy Disclosure Ordinance
Today's tip of the day is about Chicago's proposed energy disclosure ordinance.
In his two-and-a-half years as Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel has had no shortage of confrontation. He's gone head-to-head with the Chicago Teacher's Union, he's taken on Wrigleyville residents opposed to upgrades to Wrigley Field and the surrounding area, and now he's taking on the Chicago chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).
The mayor has proposed an energy disclosure ordinance that would require residential and commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet to use Energy Star's Portfolio Manager to benchmark energy use. Owners would be required to report to the city on annual basis, and the data could be disclosed to the public in the second year. While there is no requirement in the ordinance for improvement, the ordinance is part of the mayor's plan to cut Chicago energy use 30 percent by 2020.
BOMA Chicago released a statement opposing the ordinance. The statement, in part, says: "While we support Mayor Emanuel's benchmarking ordinance, we believe the public disclosure mandate in the proposed ordinance will unfairly penalize and marginalize many older and historically significant buildings in Chicago."
Recently, the ordinance passed a city council committee with an 11-2 vote. However, the full council vote was delayed because of objections similar to those brought on by BOMA Chicago. Two council members expressed concern about the cost of the ordinance to building owners, according to this story in Midwest Energy News.
The ordinance isn't dissimilar from energy benchmarking and disclosure ordinances that have already gone live in other cities, like Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York City, and states like California and Washington. (This handy chart from the Institute for Market Transformation compares cities' and states' laws.) Many of the other laws include public disclosure, and most of them also use the free (and recently revamped) Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool.
2. What is the Better Buildings Challenge?
Today's tip is about the Better Buildings Challenge, and how your organization can become a participant. You may remember in February of 2011, President Obama announced his Better Buildings Initiative - challenging organizations and the federal government to reduce energy use 20 percent by 2020.
The Better Building Challenge, which officially kicked off in December, 2011, is a subset of the Better Buildings Initiative. It's a formal agreement between about 40 initial participants and Department of Energy to reduce their energy use by at least 20 percent from 2008 levels by 2020.
Organizations that are interested in formally participating in the Better Buildings Challenge must commit themselves to identifying one Showcase Project, which is a good representation of their organizationwide energy efficiency strategies. Additionally, they must report one "implementation model" - which is basically a best practice — to DOE. DOE will collect these implementation models from all participants and disseminate that information to the marketplace, so all can benefit. Participants also agree to report energy data at least every six month. Participants can use their existing report structures, like Energy Star Portfolio Manager, for example.
According to Maria Vargas, the director of the Better Buildings Challenge, the goal of the BBC is to overcome barriers to energy efficiency. She cites some of those barriers as energy efficiency not being part of the business plan, lack of senior management buy-in, lack of reliable information about how to be energy efficient, the split incentive between tenants and landlords, and high hurdle rates for owners or investors.
The current roster of Better Buildings Challenge participants includes a variety of organizations with a variety of building portfolios. Vargas says, she hopes the program will illustrate a diversity of energy efficiency strategies for a diverse buildings market.
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