Thursday, August 12, 2010

Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance

BOMA San Francisco members have been working with the San Francisco Department of the Environment to craft the Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance. Click here to review the ordinance.

The proposal would require owners of nonresidential buildings in San Francisco to obtain energy efficiency audits, as well as to annually measure and disclose energy performance. It would also requires the Department of Environment to collect summary statistics about the energy performance of nonresidential buildings and make those statistics available to the public.

The proposal would require the owner of any nonresidential building in San Francisco with a gross area of 5,000 square feet or greater to conduct a comprehensive energy efficiency audit for each such building not less than once every 5 years. The audits would have to meet specified industry standards and be conducted by a qualified energy professional in accordance with rules promulgated by the Director of the Department of the Environment. The size of the building would determine the scope of the audit.

The energy professional would prepare a signed report of the energy efficiency audit meeting industry standards. The report would include, among other things: a list of capital and non-capital measures that would improve the building's energy efficiency; an estimate of the approximate energy savings, avoided energy cost, and costs to implement those measures; and an estimate of the economic value of the corrective measures. The ordinance would require the building owner to file with the Department of the Environment a report confirming that the energy efficiency audit had been completed.

Building owners would also be required to use the "ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager"— the Environmental Protection Agency’s online tool for managing building data—to track the total energy use of each non-residential building and obtain an "ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Energy Performance Rating" for each entire nonresidential building. The owner would then file an Annual Energy Benchmark Summary report ("AEBS") for each covered building with the Department of the Environment. The AEBS would be based on an assessment of the entire non-residential building and related facilities made using Portfolio Manager.

No energy efficiency audit would be required for: (a) a building newly constructed less than five years prior to the date an AEBS was due; (b) a building that received the ENERGY STAR® label from the EPA for at least three of the last five years; or, (c) a building that was certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance, within the past five years. Owners of financially distressed buildings could apply for extensions of the deadlines for completion of an energy efficiency audit or for submittal of an AEBS.

The Department of the Environment would annually report to the public summary statistics on Citywide energy use in nonresidential buildings and on overall compliance with the Chapter. For individual buildings covered by the ordinance, the department would report whether the building was in compliance with the Chapter, what level of energy audit was required for the building, the date of the most recent audit, and whole-building information on energy use and efficiency.

The ordinance would require building owners to make the Annual Energy Benchmark Summary report available to all tenants occupying the building in order to engage tenants in efforts to save energy.

The ordinance would set a staggered, 3-year schedule for compliance with these new requirements, beginning April 1, 2011.

Violations would be enforced through a system of administrative penalties, after written warning to the building owner.

Please email Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs at and John Bozeman, BOMA San Francisco's Legislative Assistant at with any comments you may have.

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