California to Mandate Energy-Use Reporting

(Sept. 29) A law requiring annual energy-use reporting for all California’s nonresidential buildings takes effect in January 2009, and the state Department of General Services has been working closely with utilities to streamline the reporting process, according to Beginning in 2010, owners of commercial buildings must disclose their energy usage and ENERGY STAR rating to potential buyers, leasers, and financiers. The legislation, which is similar to a European Union (EU) requirement that took effect in 2006–2007, was signed into law in October 2007.

The California regulation differs from the EU law because it looks only at actual energy use, while the EU also requires a computer-modeling estimate of projected use based on the efficiency of the building’s systems, which gives potential buyers more data to work with. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and elsewhere are exploring the potential of a more robust benchmarking system that would provide guidance on energy use by specific systems within the building, which would help identify conservation opportunities.