VISTA, CALIF.—What is likely an example of things to come, the city of Los Angles has recently passed an ordinance requiring buildings of 20,000 square feet or more to benchmark their use of energy and water consumption; disclose (provide) this information to the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety; and demonstrate steps being taken to reduce energy and water consumption.
In Los Angeles, and likely true in other large urban areas, commercial buildings are the single greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Further, in Los Angeles 4 percent of the city’s buildings are responsible for half of the total energy used in the city.
The ordinance requires that building owners benchmark their energy and water use using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Plus, it applies not only to industrial and commercial buildings but larger residential facilities like high-rise apartments as well.
To Be Phased in Over Two Years
According to Klaus Reichardt, Founder, and CEO of Waterless Co., a leading manufacturer of no-water urinals and other restroom products, “the program will be phased in over the next two years [and] while it is somewhat involved, there are many benefits to building owners as well.”
Among the benefits Reichardt noticed are the following:
- Benchmarking consumption is likely new to smaller facilities, but it is the first step in reducing consumption;
- Facilities will be able to compare their use of energy and water to comparably sized buildings;
- The ordinance lets building owners know about and take advantage of tax incentives that help reduce consumption; and
- Reducing consumption invariably helps lower operating costs.
“Another benefit we see here in California and throughout the country is that sustainability not only saves money, it also makes money,” says Reichardt. “The stats show that greener and more sustainable buildings command higher rents and attract and retain more quality tenants, making this a win for both the environment and building owners.”