<img src="http://www.se-core-pipe.com/52149.png" style="display:none;" />

U.S. cities taking lead in green building

 
May 4, 2016

iStock photo

U.S. cities are leading the way on climate and energy policies, especially policies targeting commercial and residential buildings, which can account for up to 75 percent of total energy use in cities.

Fifteen cities now have benchmarking and disclosure laws, which require building owners to report their buildings’ annual energy use to the local government, according to Dr. Margaret Walls of Resources for the Future. These include the early adopters of Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, and New York, which passed their laws in 2008 and 2009, and Portland, Ore., Atlanta, and Kansas City, Mo., all of which adopted them in 2015.

Some cities also have adopted “stretch” building energy codes, which require that new buildings achieve higher energy efficiency than set in the base code. For example, Boston requires buildings to be 20 percent more efficient than the code established in the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).  Others are looking to creative financing programs, such as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs that allow building owners to pay back low-interest energy efficiency loans through property taxes. And many cities have established renewable energy requirements. Complementing these programs are often an array of utility or state government rebates and other incentives.

The benchmarking and disclosure laws may be having the greatest impact, the newspaper reports. They require commercial, and in some cities, multifamily residential property owners to report annual energy use and use the Energy Star software program to benchmark that energy use relative to other buildings. The laws are intended to make building energy information more widely available to the marketplace, thereby allowing tenants, buyers and lenders to consider energy more carefully in their decision-making. The thinking is that this will, in turn, provide feedback effects to property owners who will then make changes to improve energy efficiency.

These are still early days for some of the programs, so it’s too soon to know the extent to which these feedback effects are occurring. So far, the laws seem to be making building owners in cities where the laws have passed more attentive to energy use.

In recent research with Resources for the Future, it’s estimated that utility bills dropped by about 3 percent, on average, in office buildings covered by the laws in four cities (Austin, New York, Seattle, and San Francisco).

Most of the early advances have come from use of “big data.” New companies have sprung up to provide real-time, energy-use data — often at 15-minute intervals — to building owners to help them better understand daily patterns of energy use, identify anomalies when and where they occur, and optimize operational improvements. In the future, innovation is likely to come from the “Internet of Things,” the connection of sensors, software and electronics in physical objects (such as equipment and buildings) to wired and wireless networks. Some companies already have developed thermostats that work with wireless remote sensors that sense temperature and occupancy in different rooms.

Other innovations starting to penetrate the market are automated window shades and a new type of window glass that electronically senses sunlight and heat and changes its tint throughout the day. More and more buildings also are relying on renewable energy and a few trendsetters are “net zero energy” — i.e., they produce as much energy as they use. Finally, nature is also playing a part via green roofs. These not only reduce building energy use but provide community benefits by reducing stormwater runoff, lowering the urban heat island effect, and providing green spaces that will become increasingly valuable as urban populations grow. Green roofs might even be available for “farm”-to-table dining; at least one restaurant in the D.C. suburbs is working with its building owner and farming on the rooftop.

 


Topics: Agricultural and Farm Buildings, Architectural Firms, Associations / Organizations, Automation and Controls, Building Owners and Managers, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Daylighting / Skylights / Natural Lighting, Energy Saving Products, Engineering Firms, Exteriors, Great Commercial Buildings, Green Roofs / Garden Roofs, Healthy & Comfortable Buildings, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Internet of Things, Lighting - Energy Efficient Lighting, Restaurants, Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Trends and Statistics, Urban Planning and Design, Windows - Glass and Glazing Strategies and Systems


Sponsored Links:


Related Content


Latest Content

Get the latest news & insights


NEWS

RESOURCES

TRENDING

None

FEATURES

RESEARCH CENTERS


Agricultural and Farm Buildings
Architectural Firms
Automation and Controls
Building Owners and Managers
Certifications
Construction Firms
Data Centers - Mission Critical Information Centers
Daylighting / Skylights / Natural Lighting
DC Power & DC Applications
Educational Buildings - Colleges and Universities
Educational Buildings - K through 12
Electricity - Electrical and Energy Solutions
Energy Audit / Energy Management
Energy Recovery & Heat Recovery Ventilation
Energy Saving Products
Engineering Firms
Exteriors
Flooring
Geothermal Heating and Cooling
Government Buildings - Federal / State / Local
Great Commercial Buildings
Green Roofs / Garden Roofs
Healthcare - Hospitals & Medical Facilities
Healthy & Comfortable Buildings
Highrise Residential
Hospitality
HVAC - Heating & Cooling & Ventilation
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Industrial and Manufacturing Buildings
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)
Insulation
Interior Design
Interiors
Internet of Things
Landscaping Architecture - Design & Maintenance
Lighting - Energy Efficient Lighting
Maintenance
Metal Roofs and Walls
Military Buildings
Mixed Use Communities/Developments & Buildings
Moisture and Vapor Management
Multifamily / Multiunit Residential
Office Buildings
Paint - Low & No VOC
Passive House / Passivhaus
Plumbing
Radiant Heat - Electrical & Hydronic
Renovation / Restoration / Remodeling
Restaurants
Retail
Roofing
Senior Living
Solar Energy & Solar Power
Structured Insulated Panels (SIPS)
Student Housing
Sustainable Trends and Statistics
Tankless Water Heaters
Thermal Envelope - Building Envelope
USGBC
Ventilation
Wall Systems / Curtain Walls
Wastewater Management / Wastewater Treatment
Water and Moisture Management - Waterproofing
Water Heating Strategies - Energy Efficient Water Heating / Heaters and Boilers
Water Quality / Fresh & Clean & Healthy Water / Water Filtration
Water Saving Strategies and Devices
Windows - Glass and Glazing Strategies and Systems
Wind Power