MEEA Conference Talks Benchmarking

Greetings from a cold Kansas City where we are happy to be indoors participating in today’s MEAA conference! The hot topic of the day? Benchmarking.

“The Expanding Midwest Benchmarking Experience” presentation featured our own Dennis Murphey, Chief Environmental 20141118_093548Officer for the City of Kansas City, along with Amy Jewel, Senior Policy Advisor, Energy Efficiency with the City of Chicago and Brendon Slotterback, Planner, Analyst and Sustainability Expert with the City of Minneapolis.  Both Minneapolis and Chicago have recently adopted a benchmarking ordinance.

Dennis started off by sharing that the City of Kansas City, Missouri is considering a benchmarking ordinance. A draft ordinance is being prepared and will be shared with the Kansas City Energy Project stakeholder group, then with the City Council.

He noted that the City already has adopted a voluntary benchmarking program, the Mayor’s Energy Challenge and Kansas City is getting some good participation. The City is also leading by example and has entered 50 building s into the Challenge

Dennis next talked a great deal about the City of Kansas City’s stakeholder engagement programs. Proactive stakeholder engagement has long been a hallmark for the City. Dennis noted that Kansas City routinely works with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, KCP&L, Mid America Regional Council, Bridging The Gap and the Metropolitan Energy Center.

Amy Jewel spoke next. Chicago has a Sustainability Strategy promoting Chicago being “competitive, livable and sustainable.” The strategy is outlined in their Sustainable Chicago Action Agenda. Chicago’s residents and businesses are spending $3 billion a year on building energy. That’s equal to 74% of Chicago’s greenhouse gas emissions. They are planning to reduce these numbers.

Chicago’s recently implemented benchmarking ordinance targets 3,000 buildings, their largest non-industrial buildings.   June 1st of this year was the first reporting deadline and Amy stated that Chicago achieved very high compliance for that first reporting deadline. A report on the first phase of submittals is expected next month.

In the future, Chicago is thinking beyond benchmarking – how to use benchmarking to accelerate energy efficiency actions.

Brendon Slotterback with the City of Minneapolis was next. Minneapolis adopted their benchmarking ordinance in February of 2013 and are working on their first report on private sector buildings.

The ordinance in Minneapolis has two parts. The first is benchmarking and reporting of energy and water data annually. The second portion is the disclosure by the City of Minneapolis of the results. Initial reporting by private buildings resulted in a 74% compliance rate, but Brandon indicated that data quality was an issue in 2/3 of the buildings who submitted

Minneapolis wants market forces to drive energy efficiency action, rather than mandatory energy efficiency improvements and is working on next steps, such as how to help buildings who are motivated to move from benchmarking to energy efficiency improvements.

It was an interesting discussion, and certainly timely since it appears that many cities throughout the nation are looking at benchmarking ordinances or have already adopted one. Let us know your thoughts and comments in our feedback option.

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