Regulatory Reporting On Energy and Water in 2014: Everything You Need To Know

Alison Liaboe

regulatory-compliance-energy-waterIf you’re a facility manager, building owner or sustainability professional, energy benchmarking and regulations are terms you’ve probably heard often during the past few years. As our energy and sustainability predictions survey found, increasing regulations at the city, state and municipal level could complicate reporting moving forward. Failure to comply with energy benchmarking regulations results in steep fines;  however, before your anxiety sets in, let us provide you with an update on all of the major city regulations you should know about for 2014.

Things are changing quickly in the regulatory reporting space. Not only have we seen an increase in the number of cities requiring reporting, but the size of the building required to report annual energy consumption has been reduced in all cases. Here is a summary of the changes:


The city requires commercial buildings within city limits that receive electricity from Austin Energy to submit annual energy rating reports. In 2014, the minimum buildings size required for reporting decreased to 10,000 square feet.


The 2013 regulation for energy and water reporting goes into effect this year for commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet. In 2016, the building size requirement will reduce to 35,000 square feet.


A city ordinance that passed last year requires commercial buildings over 250,000 square feet to track and report energy consumption through the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager.


Minneapolis requires commercial buildings larger than 100,000 square feet to report and publicly disclose their energy and water consumption.


Legislation requires an energy benchmarking standard for private buildings larger than 50,000 square feet. New York City’s buildings account for 85 percent of the city’s carbon footprint, and energy benchmarking legislation aims to help reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030.


Commercial buildings larger than 50,000 square feet are required to collect and report energy and water consumption via the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.


Nonresidential buildings with a minimum of 5,000 square feet of heated or cooled space are required to report energy consumption and submit an energy efficiency audit once every 5 years.


Owners of non-residential and multifamily buildings larger than 20,000 square feet are required to track and report annual energy consumption to the city.


Washington D.C. reduced the minimum building size required to report energy and water consumption to 50,000 square feet. Reporting is due by April 1 of each year.


Montgomery County recently announced new legislation that will go into effect next year, requiring owners of commercial buildings greater than 250,000 square feet to report on 2015 consumption by December of 2016.
While energy benchmarking can be complex, it offers plenty of opportunities for improvement within your organization. Seattle is a great example of this. The city was one of the first large cities to pass energy benchmarking regulations, and it recently discovered up to $90 million in potential energy savings as a result. Although Seattle is not the only large city to adopt energy benchmarking regulations, it boasts a 93 percent compliance rate, the highest in America.

Over the next few years, we expect the number of cities and states requiring reporting to continue to grow and the requirements to expand to include smaller sized buildings. It’s important to stay up-to-date with these changing regulations and remain aware of your organization’s consumption habits in order to avoid costly fines.

Ecova updates our regulatory compliance page regularly so please check back frequently to make sure you’re staying up-to-date with the requirements. Please contact us with any questions or assistance in meeting the regulatory requirements.

The information in this blog post is offered only for general informational and educational purposes. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice.

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