Atlanta Announces Policy to Report Buildings’ Energy Consumption
(APN) ATLANTA — Atlanta’s large commercial buildings will be required to report their water and energy use under a newly adopted City ordinance that aims to reduce commercial energy consumption and cut carbon emissions.
Mayor Kasim Reed announced the new policy on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.
“We are building on our success with the Better Buildings Challenge to conserve more energy, boost our local economy and cut pollution. This is the right step for the City of Atlanta, and shows our leadership on the national stage,” Mayor Reed said in a press release.
The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability authored the ordinance and the City Council passed it on April 20, 2015, unanimously, in a vote of ten to zero, with Kwanza Hall (District 2), Alex Wan (District 6), Mary Norwood (Post 2-at-large), Natalyn Archibong (District 5), and Joyce Sheperd (District 12) not voting.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national environmental organization, also had a hand in crafting the policy. Atlanta is one of ten U.S. cities participating in the group’s City Energy Project.
According to the NRDC, buildings account for sixty-six percent of Atlanta’s energy use. The ordinance is anticipated to lead to a twenty percent energy reduction by 2030 and a fifty percent carbon emissions reduction (from 2013 levels) by 2030.
The ordinance targets private and city-owned buildings that exceed 25,000 square feet.
2,350 buildings meet the criteria for mandatory participation. Municipal buildings will have to comply beginning this year; private buildings will be phased in in 2016.
The plan relies on building owners setting benchmarks for reducing energy consumption and using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star certification process to follow through.
Buildings’ Energy Star scores will be made public “to allow the market to recognize, reward, and drive increased demand for high-performing buildings,” according to the Mayor’s press release.
But there is no plan for the government to enforce benchmarks if market forces do not rise to the occasion.
Every ten years, participating buildings will undergo energy audits that will assess energy efficiency and provide recommendations.