Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance: Overview

Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance: Overview

I wrote this blog for my friends who are just too busy and did have a chance to attend the meeting at PG&E. I will try to rewrite the most important notes of the meeting and Benchmarking exercise but do feel free to go to www. for more information.

The intent of the existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance is to help the local market maximise energy efficiency in San Francisco by empowering owners, managers, operators and occupants with the key inormation to control utility costs, and to  know exactly how they will benefit by improving energy efficiency.

For exisitng nonresidential buildings 10,000 sf and larger the ordinance requires:

  • An Actionable Plan:  An energy efficiency audit identifying specific cost-effective measures that would save energy.
  • A Benchmark:  Track and annually summarize the energy used by the entire building, enabling tracking of trends and comparison to similar buildings under similar conditions across the nation.
  • Transparency:  Annually share a concise overview of each building's energy benchmarking results with the Department of Environment will ultimately be required to make this type of information available to the public.  The Annual Energy Benchmark Summary Report is intended to encourage improvement in Energy management, as well as sustained excellence.

Existing commercial buildings: Energy performance  The information in this briefing can also be found at clicking underline words.

It is the building owner's decision how to benefit from opportunities identified in the energy efficiency audit. Commercial properties in San Francisco are eligible for rebates (such as the San Francisco Energy Watch program:  and special financing that enhance both your bottomline and cash flow.

There are of course obvious benefits: effective recommendations from experts reduce operating costs; reduce if not avoid utility rate increases and improves you asset value.


Each whole non-residential building larger than 10,000 square feet must be benchmarked using Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

(www. Portfoilo Manager is an online tool provided at no cost to the user by US Environmental Protection Agency.  The benchmarking requirment is being phased in over three years.

  • Building owners or their representatives must annually electronically share a brief report of key benchmarking results with the Department of Environment and tenants. This reprt is an "Annual Energy Benchmark Summary", and is based on data from the prior calendar year. For example, a 2011 report will be based on energy used from January 2010 to December 2010.    
    • Contact Information and square footage.
    • Energy Use Intensity ( how much energy the building used per square foot for the year)
    • 1- 100 Performance Rating provided by Portfolio Manager, where applicable
    • Greenhouse gas emissions from energy usage.
    • (Soon they will add water usage).  The Annual Energy Benchmark does not include commodity energy use (KWh or Therms) for the whole building or for any meters.
Benchmarking with Portfolio Manager will also be required under California Public Resources Code 25402 ( AB 1103)  Where the San FRancisco Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance ordinance requires annual benchmarking and public disclosure of limited statistics summarizing overall performance.

The complimentary State Law will require private disclosure of all energy usage information between parties to the sale,lease or refinance of the entire building. For additional

For the first year that an Annual  Energy Benchmark Summary Report is required for a given building, the Department of Environment must keep the report confidential. In subsequent years of reporting for that same building, the Department of Environment is required to make the Annual Energy Benchmark Summary public.  Classes are available online at PG&E  Pacific Gas & Electric,  US EPA's ENERGY STAR program provides both live webinars and recorded training on how to benchmark with Portfolio Manager.

EXEMPTIONS to Benchmarking Requirements:

An Annual Energy Benchmark is not required for:
  • NEW BUILDINGS  (The certificate of Occupancy from the Department of Building Inspection is dated less than two years prior to the Annual Energy Bechmark due date).
IN ALL OTHER CASES, THE ANNUAL ENERGY BENCHMARK SUMMARY IS REQUIRED. To obtain an exemption to benchmarking requirments, please write to:  In the message inlude:
  • Contact Information for the owner, and the owner's agent if applicable.
  • Assesor Parcel Number (Block and lot)
  • Gross square footage of the building(s).
  • Reason for exemption:  
    • Certificate of Occupancy or a copy
    • Signed Statement that the building was unoccupied for the 12 months prior to calendar year.  

Benchmarking Timeline:

AEBS reports will generall be due April 1 In 2011, the reports are due October 1.  2011 will be based upon measured energy performance January 2010 through December 2010.

How to submit an AEBS: 
To fulfill the benchmarking requirment, the Annual Energy Benchmark Summary 2011 report template must be used:   or visit    This link leads you to Portfolio Manager login page. By accessing your account through this web link, a custom report template for compliance with the ordinance will be available in your account.  By using the AEBS report 2011 template, you will securely submit to the Department of Environment only the data required to meet the ordinance and no more and data willbe shared with the Department of the Environment ehnw you click "Release Data" at the end of the process.

Energy Efficiency Audits Benchmarking provides the perspective about how  a building performs relative to its peers.To identify specific opportunities:
    • for savings, 
    • weigh cost against benefits
    • prioritize investments
  • an energy audit is necessary.
  • The owner of each non-residential building larger than 10,000 sf must obtain a comprehensive enrgy efficiency study of the entire building from your qualified energy auditor at least once every five years.  
  • The Auditor or Project Engineer/Architect is responsible for submitting a detailed report to the building decision makers.  The idea is to provide a catalog of opportunities to cost effectively improve energy efficiency, improve over 2008 Title 24, gain net zero emmission. It must meet ASHRAE  Procedures for Commercial Building Audits.
  • The full Procedures for Commercial Energy Audits are available directly from ASHRAE:
  • Bottom line: Saves Energy will save you money and save your healthy life and create sustainable electricity for the community.
Energy Efficiency AuditsTIMELINE: 
 All building owners must have at least 12 months between the date they are notified an audit is required, and the date when the first Confirmation of Energy Audit is due.Notification of audit requirements is sent to the party by the Office of the Assessor Recorder as the contact for the property tax and the owner is responsible for filing a Confirmation of Energy Audit.  The confirmation of Energy Audit will be required and will be filed online. No confirmation of audit is due until October 2012 at the earliest and a reporting mechanism will be provided at least 180 days before any audits are due.
  Energy Audit will include:

  • Contact Information for the building and building owner.
  • Auditor, their qualifications and when the audit was completed;
  • A list of all cost-effective retrofit and measures identified. For reporting purposes, "cost effective" means energy measures that are estimated by the auditor to either:
    • Each have simple payback of 3 years or less
    • Each have beneficial net present value,
    • Comprise an integrated package with an overall simple payback of approximately 3 years.
    • comprise an integrated package with beneficial net present value.

Watch out for this date October 15, 2012 April 1. 2013, April 1, 20142 017 and beyond.  Hopefull all of buildings will be Net Zero and will eventually produce some form of electricity for your electric cars, buses and personal mobile train.

EXEMPTIONS Energy Efficiency Audits Requirements:
  • High Performance Buildings: The building has received the ENERGY STAR in 3 of past 5 years or LEED for existing Buildings certification in the past 5 years.
  • New Construction:  The building was constructed in the past 5 Years. The building thatmeet these above criteria are exempt from an audit the next audit cycle, and will remain exempt if they maintain current recognition for high performance.
Friend in SF,   call: 415 992 6373  or  You can email:

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