Columbus adopts Ohio's first energy benchmarking program - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Industrial  -  April 14, 2020

Columbus adopts Ohio's first energy benchmarking program

The City Council of Columbus, Ohio unanimously voted on March 16 to establish an energy and water benchmarking program, the first in the state, in line with other Midwestern leaders like Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City and Des Moines.

The Energy and Water Benchmarking and Transparency Ordinance requires commercial, multifamily and industrial buildings 50,000 square feet and over and city buildings 25,000 square feet and over to track their energy and water use with the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager starting in 2021. Based on data that benchmarking and transparency have been shown to reduce building energy use by 2-3% each year, the city estimates a 3-4% reduction in community-wide emissions from the buildings sector year over year.

Benchmarking will give building owners the data they need to make more informed investment decisions and contribute to the reduction of community emissions. 

“As Columbus continues to implement climate-friendly programs and policies that will help to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, meet their carbon neutrality goal, and drive economic growth, other cities will look to the Ohio city as a model, providing an example for how local leadership can help to effectively address the climate crisis,” Stefan Schaffer, city strategist for the American Cities Climate Challenge at the NRDC, said in a statement

Buildings 100,000 square feet and above will be required to submit data for the entire 2020 calendar year by June 2021 and buildings 50,000 square feet and above will submit data starting for the 2021 calendar year before June 2022. All subsequent benchmarking reports will be due before June each year. This data will then be published online on a public map to be shared with the community starting in 2022.

The Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority previously implemented a C-PACE program, which building owners will have access to for projects that contribute to their energy efficiency. Mayor Ginther also announced in February his goal to make the City of Columbus carbon neutral by 2050 and a measure that will be on November’s ballot to implement a community choice aggregation program for residential renewable energy.

Keywords: Columbus, NRDC

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