Blumenfield, Huizar motion leads to new program - buildings 20,000-square-feet or larger will be required to report energy & water use rates & hit reduction goals in five years
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously adopted (14-0) an ordinance today establishing a robust conservation program for the City’s older large buildings and biggest energy and water consumers in order to better track their usage and increase efficiency. The Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency ordinance, which started as a motion by Councilmembers Blumenfield and Huizar, would require buildings 20,000-square-feet or larger to report energy and water usage to the Department of Building and Safety each year.
Every five years, these high energy users, along with City buildings 15,000-square-feet or larger, will be required to take action to reduce their consumption. This may be done through an energy or water audit and retro-commissioning, proof of Energy Star certification, or a proven reduction in water use by 20 percent and energy use by 15 percent over the five-year period.
“With four percent of the City of Los Angeles buildings responsible for half of the total electricity use in the city, this program is crucial to our goal to reduce energy use by 15 percent by 2020,” said Councilmember José Huizar whose Planning committee approved the item last week before sending it to the City Council. “While the City has been a leader in establishing efficiency standards for new buildings, there is a great need to reduce energy use in thousands of older, existing buildings.”
“Throughout my career energy conservation has been a top priority and I am proud to have helped bring the Clean Energy Project to Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “By working collaboratively with our City’s largest consumers of resources we are creating a force multiplier that will reduce overall energy and water use while saving businesses and taxpayer money.”
Eventually, participating businesses’ usage statistics and performance will be available to the public online. Reporting requirements will be phased in over a three-year period in order to help smaller buildings with less resources make the transition to the new program.
Councilmember Paul Koretz seconded the original motion.
“What I like best isn’t simply the energy, water, and related cost-savings the City and building owners will achieve, it's how this program will motivate ongoing overall improvement in our building stock, making sure they are constantly well-maintained and updated, which is good for building owners, for building tenants, and for our overall infrastructure,” said Councilmember Koretz. “Like our new waste franchise system, this is going to be one of the most comprehensive programs in the country, one that other cities can and will emulate.”
Buildings 100,000-square-feet or larger – about 2,000 across L.A. – will be the first required to report usage rates, which will be due July 1, 2017.
This program has received robust support from the L.A. business and environmental communities, including the Los Angeles Business Council, the National Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the L.A. Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Building Owners and Managers Association.
Special thanks to Mayor Garcetti and his Office of Sustainability for stakeholder outreach and the Department of Building and Safety for their assistance in crafting this ordinance.
(Photo credit Brian Liao)