August 11, 2022 | Ben Silverman

Today, Massachusetts Governor Baker has signed the Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind, or 2022 Climate and Clean Energy Bill. This bill invests the state in offshore wind, transportation decarbonization, and enables some Massachusetts communities to ban natural gas hookups, and establishes a statewide building energy benchmarking requirement.

The Institute for Market Transformation applauds the state legislature and advocates who made the 2022 Climate and Clean Energy Bill a reality. One of the many excellent provisions of the comprehensive climate bill is the establishment of a statewide benchmarking requirement for all large buildings in the state above 20,000 square feet of floor area. The bill will require that owners of such buildings annually report their energy consumption to Massachusetts’ Department of Energy Resources (DOER) by June 30th each year. DOER will make the resulting data public by October 31st of each year. Cities like Boston and Cambridge that already have their own benchmarking laws may choose to opt out of the statewide program.

With this bill, Massachusetts becomes the fifth state to adopt a statewide benchmarking law. Statewide benchmarking will allow DOER to gather vital data on building energy consumption and building characteristics that will be critical for adopting any potential statewide building performance standard.

Benchmarking is a vital first step policy in the long road to decarbonize existing buildings. Further actions will be needed to help Massachusetts meet its climate commitments. Other states like Maryland, Colorado, and Washington State have already adopted their own statewide building performance standards. A further statewide building performance standard would build on the foundations set by this benchmarking law. The 2022 Climate and Clean Energy Bill is a huge step in the right direction, and continued work on climate change like a statewide building performance standard will help Massachusetts continue to be a leader. We encourage legislative leaders to consult our model building performance standard and to reach out to us for additional information.

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