Building Owners Agitated about Mandatory Energy Ratings

Oct. 11, 2011

More and more cities are mandating that building owners fess up to their energy use, including New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

The disclosure rules vary between different regions, but typically require one of the following reports:

  • A record of the past year’s utility bills
  • An asset rating based on projected energy use
  • An operational rating established by actual performance

Supporters of the disclosure policies argue that the measure is about transparency. According to BuildingRatings.org, energy efficiency leads to higher occupancy rates, faster lease-up periods, and premium rents. By openly posting a building’s energy performance, owners can gain longer-term benefits.

“In the past, real estate markets have had poor information or no information at all related to building energy performance,” the online resource states. “Conveying actionable energy performance data to the market empowers consumers to compare the energy efficiency of buildings and incorporate building energy performance into leasing and purchasing decisions.”

Despite these benefits, deep objections are being voiced by concerned building owners. Some feel the ratings are intended to shame owners into upgrades, putting a negative spin on green improvements.

Others are concerned that the rules don’t take into account the complexity of energy data, overlooking the cost of procuring such information. Particularly for a building that doesn’t have energy monitoring in place, the ratings now represent a budgetary dilemma.

Which side of the fence are you on – are mandatory energy ratings the way of the future or a hindrance in the present? Email your thoughts to assistant editor Jennie Morton at [email protected].

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