The massive consumption of energy can be counteracted not only by finding alternative sources, but also by cutting on the “appetite” we already have. If we look at the bigger picture, 70% of the total electricity production in the U.S. is eaten up by commercial buildings (according to the U.S. Department of Energy). So, wouldn’t it be great if we could reduce that amount as much as we can?
The City of Seattle has thought just about that when planning to introduce its benchmarking program this fall. According to this project, starting April next year, any commercial or multifamily residential building with a size beyond 10,000 square feet will have its energy performance measured and compared to the standards set in the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Program.
In its first phase, the program will focus only on commercial buildings 50,000 square feet or more and then move on to smaller ones.
Not only will the lenders have access to the conclusions, but also the potential buyers and future occupants in the building, as part of the real estate transactions. For the majority of them, their building’s energy-efficiency is something they haven’t really thought about or knew very little of. Even if they wanted to estimate it, they wouldn’t know how, becomes there is no official method of doing that.
Now they have this program to help them and the move benefits all of those involved: the more energy-efficient the building, the less the owners and managers incur operating costs and the building becomes more competitive on the market. It can thus be rented or sold at a higher price.
Once started, the program is expected to become common practice in the real estate business. Considering the fact that such an evaluation and the subsequent modifications will increase a building’s energy efficiency by 30 to 50%, our opinion is that i’s worth taking the step. I’s not like you have a choice if you live in Seattle!