By Grey Lee

I’m sure most of you are aware by now of the City of Boston’s Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO), which was passed on May 8, 2013. BERDO will require all buildings or groups of buildings greater than 35,000 square feet to report on annual energy and water use, along with greenhouse gas emissions through the US EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager. The requirement will be phased in over 5 years and will first apply to non-residential buildings 50,000 square feet or greater in 2014 and residential buildings with 50 or more units in 2015.  Ultimately, the requirement will apply to non-residential buildings 35,000 square feet or greater and residential buildings with 35 or more units.

While many organizations have been involved with BERDO’s public process over the past year, Boston-based business organization A Better City (ABC) has taken an active role in ensuring thorough input from the commercial real estate sector.  ABC has worked to educate owners on the ordinance and is soliciting feedback from the business community to help shape the final regulations.  During the course of the summer, ABC assisted building owners throughout the City on how to use Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
ABC provided free one-on-one training sessions with owners which involved: 1) determining which owners were already using portfolio manager and 2) sitting down & training owners how to use portfolio manager in order to work through any problems they were having.  
ABC has been involved in BERDO since May of 2012. While the ordinance was being written by the City, ABC held focus groups (organized by property types and representing Class A and B buildings) to provide direct feedback from owners and property managers.  These focus groups were attended by city staff and the feedback had a direct influence on the final ordinance.   Most building owners are starting to take steps to comply with the ordinance and are taking advantage of opportunities to learn more about Portfolio Manager.  
The timeline for reporting energy and water data is going to be phased in over five years.  The first group that will have to comply will be non-residential buildings equal to or greater than 50,000 gsf or two or more buildings on the same parcel that equal or exceed 100,000 gsf.  The first report for this group will be due May 15, 2014.  Non-residential buildings between 35,000 gsf and 50,000 gsf will not have to report until May 15, 2016. There are roughly 1,900 commercial buildings that will fall under the ordinance (over 35,000 sq ft).   
The regulations for Boston’s Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance were determined after examining several other cities that had successfully implemented a similar ordinance.  These cities include San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Washington DC.
This fall there will be a release of the draft regulations, followed by stakeholder meetings and outreach to owners that will report in 2014. The Boston Air Pollution Control Commission (APCC) will then hold a public hearing on these draft regulations.
This information was gathered from an interview with Mihir Parikh at A Better City and the City of Boston’s website.  To learn more, go to:    and
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