Energy codes for buildings have become more stringent over the past 15 years in Portland, Ore. but actual energy use has not gone down, says Portland’s green building manager. The reason? People’s increased use of electronic gadgets and their behavior. Over the past few years, Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, and Washington, D.C., have passed laws requiring property owners to measure and disclose their energy use, which would help place a market value on a building’s efficiency and provide a benchmark for improvements.
The Oregon Legislature has considered similar legislation, but concerns about accounting for tenant behavior, especially in multi-tenant buildings, led to failure of the measure. So, Portland is now considering its options regarding energy codes and human behavior.