BuildingRating

Sharing Transparency for a More Efficient Future

Cambridge

Policy Description:

The Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance (No. 1360) was enacted by the Cambridge City Council on July 28, 2014. The ordinance is a key step in efforts to reduce Cambridge's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

Energy use in buildings accounts for about 80% of GHG emissions in Cambridge, with two-thirds of the total related to commercial, institutional, and large multifamily buildings.  Efforts to improve the energy performance of the building stock is hampered by the invisible nature of energy use. 

The ordinance is intended to address this problem by requiring owners of larger buildings to track and report annual energy use to the City and publicly disclose the data.  Disclosure places the information in the marketplace, where various users such as potential property buyers, tenants, realtors, energy service providers, and others can use the data to help create value for higher energy performing properties.  The data will also aid the City and others in planning for higher energy performance in the building stock. 

The ordinance is a foundational strategy for various community sustainability initiatives including the Community Compact for a Sustainable Future, Kendall Square Ecodistrict, and efforts to move the community toward net zero emissions.

Enacted Date:
2014
Authority in Charge:
City of Cambridge Community Development Department
Tool Name:
ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager
Building Types Affected Size Compliance Deadline
Public/Government Greater Than or Equal To 10,000 Sq. Feet 2014-12-31
Non-Residential Greater Than or Equal To 50,000 Sq. Feet 2015-05-01
Non-Residential Greater Than or Equal To 25,000 Sq. Feet 2016-05-01
Multi-Family Greater Than or Equal To 50 Dwellings 2015-05-01
Exemptions:
Municipal buildings will report 2013 usage by December 31, 2014 and by May 1 for every year following. All covered properties will report the previous year usage on May 1. New properties with less than 12 months of usage statistics will begin reporting the following year.
Number of Buildings Affected:
1,121
Floor Area Affected:
78,026,252 Sq. Feet
Transparency:
Required Transparency:
Yes
Transparency Method:
Public Website
Recipients:
Public Website
Transparency Trigger:
Date Certain
Frequency:
Annually
Notes:
The Department shall make available to the public on the internet benchmarking information for the previous calendar year: no later than December 31, 2014 and by September 1 of each year thereafter for municipal properties; and no later than September 1, 2015 and by September 1 of each year thereafter for covered properties. Benchmarking information, received by the Department for the first year a covered property is required to input the total energy consumed and other descriptive information as required by the benchmarking tool, will not be published except to disclose whether or not the covered property is in compliance with this ordinance.
Reporting:
Required Reporting:
Yes
Reporting Trigger:
Date Certain
Reporting Frequency:
Annually
Notes:
All covered building types must report their benchmarking information annually on May 1.

Utility Requirements/Support:

Utility Requirements/Support:
No

Verification:

Verification:
No
Notes:
The Department may establish certification and/or licensing requirements for the users of benchmarking tools.

Compliance:

Compliance Enforcement:
Yes
Penalties for Non-Compliance:
Yes
Description:
First violation results in a warning. Subsequent violations result in a fine of $300 per day.
Number of Buildings in Compliance:
1,121
Area of Buildings in Compliance:
78,026,252 Sq. Feet
Compliance Rate (Based on # of Buildings):
90% (2014)
Compliance Rate (Based on Building Area):
93.5% (2014)
Additional Program Information:
Audits:
No
Retrocommissioning:
No
Water Use Tracking:
Yes
Additional Information:
By December 31, 2018, the Department shall review the effect of the Ordinance on improving energy performance for Covered Buildings. If energy performance for Covered Buildings has not improved significantly, the Department will make recommendations to the City Manager as to whether amendments to the Ordinance or other measures are necessary to improve building energy performance for Covered Buildings.