Boston Moves a Step Closer to Building LabelingMarch 2013 – Advisories
We reported to you last November that Boston’s Office of Environmental and Energy Services was crafting an ordinance that would require reporting of energy efficiency performance for Boston buildings. This so-called Energy Disclosure Ordinance is now before the City Council for approval, with some modifications. If approved, the ordinance would require certain buildings to report annual energy use, water use, and other building characteristics through Energy Star Portfolio Manager or an equivalent mechanism approved by the Boston Air Pollution Control Commission. The key components of the ordinance are as follows:
- Owners of nonresidential buildings of at least 50,000 gross square feet (or two or more buildings on the same parcel with a combined floor area over 100,000 gross square feet) would need to submit an initial annual report by May 15, 2014 for the 2013 calendar year. Owners of nonresidential buildings of at least 25,000 gross square feet would need to submit an initial annual report by May 15, 2016 for the 2015 calendar year.
- Owners of residential buildings of at least 50 units or 50,000 gross square feet (or two or more buildings in the same condominium that together meet these thresholds) would need to submit an initial annual report by May 15, 2015 for the 2014 calendar year. Owners of residential buildings of at least 25 units or 25,000 gross square feet would need to submit an initial annual report by May 15, 2017 for the 2016 calendar year.
- Tenants would be required to provide energy and water use data to building owners.
- Reported information, along with derived greenhouse gas emissions and Energy Star ratings for individual buildings, would be made publicly available on the Internet.
- Buildings with Energy Star ratings below the 75th percentile in their group (not meeting certain exemption criteria) would be required to conduct energy audits every 5 years to identify opportunities for investments in energy efficiency. The City would develop exemption criteria for buildings that do not qualify for any Energy Star rating and for buildings and groups of buildings that show continuous improvement.
- Failure to comply with reporting requirements could lead to fines for owners or tenants.
Boston follows several other large U.S. cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Seattle and San Francisco, that have opted for mandatory reporting of environmental performance over heavy-handed requirements for system upgrades or operations improvements. Reporting is intended to encourage energy efficiency and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by Boston businesses, institutions and residents.
Goulston & Storrs continues to follow developments regarding the Energy Disclosure Ordinance. For questions about the information contained in this advisory, please contact your usual Goulston & Storrs attorney or the attorneys listed below.
This advisory should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer concerning your situation and any specific legal questions you may have.
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