Energy efficiency for buildings will soon move from theory to reality in Seattle.
As part of a second phase for its energy efficiency benchmarking programs that measure and rate a building’s energy performance, Seattle is sending letters to the owners of 8,000 buildings this week informing them of its building energy-efficiency program. The program is meant to help building owners and managers reduce energy costs using benchmarking.
Such benchmarking should provide owners with a clearer understanding of how their building uses or wastes energy. Ultimately the city hopes to encourage owners to identify ways to improve energy efficiency and increase savings.
Seattle’s Building Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Program is already underway for nonresidential buildings exceeding 50,000 sq. ft. This new phase will require nonresidential buildings over 10,000 sq. ft. and multifamily buildings with five or more units to benchmark and report their energy performance by April 1, 2012.
To support the program, a series of educational materials are available, including workshops, webinars, and a “How To” guide. Aggressive benchmarking programs like this are expected to provide savings through the adoption of energy-saving programs, and the availability of rebates or other financial incentives to save energy.
“Buildings consume more than 40 percent of the energy produced in the U.S. but there is a huge opportunity to lower energy costs through better building efficiency”, said Diane Sugimura, Director of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development, in a press announcement.
This second group of targeted buildings includes offices, schools, restaurants, and retail outlets. These properties make up a significant portion of Seattle’s building inventory.
Owners and managers already familiar with the benchmarking program see it as a good business practice that helps boost bottom lines.
“The more information and knowledge you have about your building’s energy performance, the more power you have to control it, “ said Lynda Carey, Construction and Asset Manager at Bellwether, an affordable housing organization in Seattle. “For us, benchmarking and making energy-efficiency improvements isn’t just about helping the environment, it is also a good business decision.”
Complete information about the benchmarking program can be reviewed here.
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