Boston’s energy reporting law shows older buildings more efficient than post-1950 structures

First year of reporting tracks 45% of commercial building space.

October 30, 2015 |
Boston’s energy reporting law shows older buildings more efficient than post-1950 structures

Photo: Adavyd/Wikimedia Commons.

In general, buildings built in Boston before 1950 are more energy efficient than those built after that year, according to the city’s first annual report of private-sector energy use.

A 2013 city ordinance requires large buildings in the city to report energy and water use. The first year of reporting covered about 45% of the energy used by all commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings in Boston. Owners of 820 buildings participated, with a combined accounting of 175 million sf of space.

Another key finding was that the energy used per square foot varied greatly even among buildings of the same type. Among Boston’s large office buildings, for example, the most energy-intensive buildings reported ten times more energy per square foot than the least energy-intensive buildings.

This year, the city has expanded outreach to buildings between 50,000 sf and 100,000 sf, which had lower compliance rates than larger buildings. City administrators are working to identify the appropriate points of contact within complex ownership entities. The city is also increasing staff resources for help services and improving guidance documents.

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