A preliminary analysis by the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA and the nonprofit City Energy project revealed that half of the city’s electricity demand is consumed by just 4% of its buildings, which spurred the city council into action with a specific focus on the large, older buildings identified in the analysis as the primary culprits.
The preliminary analysis did not stop at just highlighting the loss leaders but it also included a strategy to help reduce energy consumption for these heavy hitters that, if proven out, would result in concrete steps for the city to take against its energy efficiency improvement targets. Beyond just hitting targets, these improvements could be low-hanging fruit when it comes to cutting spending.
In response to the report, the city council wrote up the Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency ordinance that requires buildings 20,000 sq ft or larger to report energy and water usage to the Department of Building and Safety each year. Additionally, they are required to actively work to reduce the energy consumption of the building which is also a new requirement listed in the ordinance for buildings 15,000 sq ft and larger.
Supporters claim that the new program has received support from a diverse set of groups in the greater Los Angeles area, including the Los Angeles Business Council, the National Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the LA Chapter of the US Green Building Council and the Building Owners and Managers Association.
Councilman Paul Koretz, who seconded the original motion, shared a bit about why he felt the new program was critical:
“What I like best isn’t simply the energy, water, and related cost savings the city and building owners will achieve, it’s how this program will motivate ongoing overall improvement in our building stock, making sure they are constantly well-maintained and updated, which is good for building owners, for building tenants, and for our overall infrastructure.”
While these findings might seem disheartening at first, they also represent extremely low-hanging fruit in that such a small percentage of buildings represent such lucrative targets for energy efficiency spending. If this preliminary analysis is confirmed, this may set an exciting precedent for the rest of the nation to aggressively attack older building with energy efficiency spending.
Beyond just the US implications, this is especially exciting when you consider that California is one of the younger states in the nation and, more broadly, just a toddler of a city in the global landscape. This preliminary analysis highlights just how massive the potential for energy efficiency savings could be by focusing efforts on the small handful of buildings that are consuming the most energy.
Source: My News LA
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