Benchmarking & Decarbonization Policy Crossroads

Marc Costa, Director of Policy and Planning at TEC

While it is an exciting time for decarbonization and electrification, it is also clear that additional data is needed to inform the development of new legislation, regulations, and programs that support benchmarking and decarbonization. Benchmarking and audit ordinances have historically been framed around energy efficiency and building owner action. However, data collected through benchmarking and audit ordinances—capturing energy consumption and field-validated characteristics about individual buildings—is critical for utility commissions, load-serving entities, energy program administrators, and supply-side stakeholders to conduct decarbonization planning.

With a population just under 5,000 residents, Northern California’s City of Brisbane recently passed an ordinance establishing the Building Efficiency Program. It goes beyond the traditional ordinances because it requires information related to distributed energy resources and also recognizes early adopters of decarbonization, grid-interactive efficient buildings, green leases, and ASHRAE standards for retro-commissioning and re-tuning. It also goes beyond the AB 802 data access legislation by requiring tenant data disclosure to building owners (in some cases). It is the first ordinance of its kind in the United States and thus may grant insights into how new ordinance programs will need to go beyond spurring building owner action to capturing data and guiding decisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The results from Brisbane’s Building Efficiency Program will create insights for other local governments and states as they consider benchmarking ordinances for decarbonization planning. Learn more here.

Marc Costa

February 25, 2020