Minneapolis is the latest major metro to require large commercial buildings to benchmark and disclose their energy and water use. Beginning in 2015, private commercial buildings >50,000 sf will have to report their energy and water use to the city, which is the first in the Midwest to require the procedure. The policy is intended, in part, to enhance the power of sustainability as a marketing tool.
"Other cities' experiences with disclosure requirements are showing that they will result in lower energy costs for businesses," says Elizabeth Glidden, Minneapolis City Council member, who wrote the ordinance. The city's own facilities and other public offices will start compliance early, disclosing energy and water use for buildings >25,000 sf this year.
Similar policies are already in place in Austin, Texas, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Seattle recently reported that 87% of its commercial and multifamily residential facilities of 50,000 sf or larger are now in compliance, representing more than 200 million sf of property. This year, the next phase of Seattle's ordinance kicks in, covering commercial and multifamily buildings between 20,000 and 50,000 sf. The city has not chosen to release its data, but building owners must make their stats accessible to tenants, buyers, or financial institutions.