Building Energy Awareness Ordinance Compliance Deadline Nears

By Johanna Schweiss,
Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator,
USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

In January of 2017, the City of St. Louis’s Board of Alderman unanimously passed the Building Energy Awareness Ordinance, joining Chicago and a long list of other cities in adopting a policy requiring large buildings to track and share their energy and water use.

The Building Energy Awareness Ordinance requires municipal, institutional, commercial and multifamily residential buildings whose square footage is equal to or greater than 50,000 to track and report their energy and water usage annually to the City’s Building Division. Privately owned buildings are required to benchmark and submit data by April 1, 2018 using the free, online tool ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

But let’s back up for a moment to answer two questions – why is this process required? And what does it mean for you?

With a few building details and a year’s worth of energy and water data, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager provides building owners with an understanding of how their energy and water use compares to buildings of a similar type, taking in to account size, weather, and several other factors.

With this understanding, building owners and operators can plot a path forward to reduce their energy and water costs and improve building performance. According to the EPA, the average building wastes 30% of the energy it consumes due to inefficiencies. Half of all energy savings are possible through low-cost or no-cost operational improvements, but this opportunity for savings is often overlooked by building owners and hidden from investors.

By giving building owners a sense of how they compare to similar buildings, energy benchmarking reveals these opportunities. There’s a lot of potential cost savings hiding in those inefficiencies, just waiting for building owners to discover! And Ameren Missouri and Spire (Laclede Gas) offer incentives and rebates to encourage building owners to implement building energy efficiency improvements.

Chicago adopted a benchmarking ordinance in 2013. Their 2015 energy benchmarking report stated that the requirement had revealed $100 million in potential cost savings that could be realized by improving poor performing buildings’ energy use to average levels. Imagine what an extra $100 million could do for building owners in the City of St. Louis!

So what does this mean for you? Well, if you own or operate a municipal, institutional, commercial and multifamily residential building whose square footage is equal to or greater than 50,000 in the City of St. Louis, you’ll be required to comply with the ordinance.

Even if you’re not affected, you can still realize the benefits of benchmarking. Your church, your children’s school, your favorite non-profit, your city hall can all benefit from the cost saving potential of energy benchmarking. Once you’re done benchmarking, the real work can begin – implementing energy efficiency improvements to reduce your costs and reduce your environmental impacts!

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter, the City of St. Louis, BOMA St. Louis, Downtown STL, Inc, and IFMA St. Louis Chapter have partnered to present several opportunities to learn more about the Building Energy Awareness Ordinance and receive hands-on assistance with compliance. Visit www.usgbc-mogateway.org to learn more & register.