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MONTGOMERY COUNTY IS FIRST U.S. COUNTY TO PASS ENERGY BENCHMARKING LAW
New law, similar to those passed in nine cities, requires the tracking of energy use in large public and private buildings
Washington, DC–April 29, 2014–Montgomery County, Md., has become the first county in the nation to pass an energy benchmarking law, requiring owners of large nonresidential buildings to track and report their properties’ energy use. The county follows nine major U.S. cities–Austin, Boston, Chicago, the District of Columbia, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle–that have enacted similar laws to cut energy waste, lower utility bills, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Montgomery County’s new law was part of a package of nine energy bills introduced by Councilmember Roger Berliner (District 1) and unanimously passed on April 22 (Earth Day). The law requires the annual benchmarking, or tracking, of energy use in county-owned nonresidential buildings with an initial deadline of June 1, 2015; the benchmarking of privately owned nonresidential buildings of 250,000 or more square feet by Dec. 1, 2016; and the benchmarking of private nonresidential buildings of 50,000 to 250,000 square feet by Dec. 1, 2017. The county will assemble a working group on the law’s implementation for private-sector buildings. Benchmarking data must be verified by a licensed professional before the first submission and every three years thereafter.
“I am pleased that we have become the first county in the country to implement an energy benchmarking bill,” said Councilmember Berliner. “My hope is that this benchmarking bill, when paired with our recently passed Commercial PACE program, will bring about significant private investment and good green jobs in our commercial building sector for energy efficiency improvements.”
“This new law will help Montgomery County building owners take a closer look at how their buildings operate,” said Shannon D. Sentman, CEO of Sol Vista, an energy management company based in Montgomery County. “Inefficiency is bad for both the environment and owners’ checkbooks. In our experience working with clients in other jurisdictions with similar laws, benchmarking typically leads to efficiency measures that reduce their utility expenses and increase the value of their buildings.”
Energy benchmarking of buildings can be performed with a free software tool, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager. An EPA analysis showed that buildings that were benchmarked over three years had 7 percent average energy savings over that period.
“IMT applauds the Montgomery County Council for unanimously passing an energy benchmarking law, among other clean energy measures,” said Cliff Majersik, Executive Director of the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), a nonprofit that promotes energy efficiency in buildings. “This law will have a huge, positive impact. Montgomery County has 1 million people and many large nonresidential buildings. Better managing the energy use of those buildings will lead to energy and cost savings on a large scale. As the first county to pass an energy benchmarking law, Montgomery County shows that energy benchmarking isn’t confined to cities — it’s a national movement.”
A suburban county that borders Washington, DC, Montgomery County has a population of more than 1 million. Discovery Communications, GEICO, and Marriott International are among the companies headquartered there.
ABOUT IMT: The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization promoting energy efficiency, green building, and environmental protection in the United States and abroad. IMT’s work addresses market failures that inhibit investment in energy efficiency and sustainability in the building sector. For more information, visit imt.org.