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Posts tagged ‘Seattle’

Seattle’s energy disclosure deadline looms

Phase one of the City’s energy disclosure ordinance is in full effect, and its October 3 deadline is right around the corner. In tracking this program over the past months and year, I’ve seen a handful of issues arise, some of which could limit the program’s overall effectiveness. I think that a solution that allows the market to utilize transparent energy metrics is a big piece of the energy efficiency puzzle, so let’s make this thing truly work!

So what’s happening out there?

  • Not all building owners have received their letter from the City (for phase one, only buildings over 50,000 sf must report). We kind of knew this would happen at some level … City and County records are not perfect and mail gets lost in the shuffle. In addition, property details are not always correct, leading to some confusion and subsequent troubleshooting.
  • Additionally, phase two buildings (over 10,000 sf) won’t receive their letters until November, for an April 2012 deadline. Overall, we need more people talking about the ordinance and its likely effects. I’m reaching out to media colleagues, allied organizations, and building owners to spread the word.
  • The City’s enforcement plan is non-existent to date. This is a big one. Owners need to know that compliance is not optional. And penalties need to be clear in order for a mandate like this to be effective. One of the first questions owners ask me is, “What happens if I don’t comply?” City program managers have promised more information online soon, which should help, but the clock is ticking.
  • Along with City action, we need more market enforcers. I’m hoping to encourage real estate agents to start requesting energy performance reports from buildings that they are hoping to lease or purchase. This is one primary aim of the ordinance—to use energy metrics in real estate transactions—and in part, the market can provide a self-policing service. But again, more knowledgeable players are needed. More market requests = more benchmarking = more compliance = higher energy performance over time.

As always, collaboration is key. Groups like the Seattle 2030 District are bringing together building owners and other stakeholders to share ideas. And I’ve been teaming with other small firms to help building owners streamline the compliance process and think about longer-term energy opportunities. So if you’ve come this far, give us a call (617.851.6742) or e-mail to discuss compliance details and energy savings potential.

What did Bill have to say?

As one friend said, 3 years ago barely a thousand people even knew what Climate Solutions was! Yesterday morning, more than 1,300 folks turned out for Climate Solutions’ annual fundraising breakfast in Seattle. Last year featured one of my all-time heroes Van Jones and this year Bill Gates showed up. I enjoyed the seated conversation style approach—Excel inventor and Climate Solutions board member Jabe Blumenthal interviewed Gates—although I was left wondering what else Gates didn’t get to say since it wasn’t a fully formed talk. But all in all, it was fun to hear him call out the U.S. government for underfunding energy and climate change R&D. Gates is clearly investing in various energy solutions and the NY Times has a good write-up here about his approach. And he seems jazzed about the actual science. So go big, Bill. Bring us home some winners. For the future, that is.