Non-Residential San Francisco building owners have begun to receive notices in the mail regarding the new Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance.  The ordinance requires ENERGY STAR benchmarking and energy audits for commercial buildings in the city.  The ordinance is the result of the recommendations made by the San Francisco Mayor’s Task Force on Existing Commercial Buildings regarding AB 1103.

California Assembly Bill (AB) 1103 – The Commercial Building Benchmarking Law

The Commercial Building Benchmarking Law, AB 1103, was signed into law by the Governor in 2007.  AB 1103 requires that buildings must buildings eligible to receive an EPA Energy Star score of 1 to 100 must disclose that a score.  Buildings that are unable to receive an Energy Star score, must disclose the energy use intensity level in (kBtu/sf-yr).

Phase One of the bill required that utilities statewide would need to provide consumption data upon request from a customer no later than January 1, 2009.  Phase two of the AB1103 requires that non-residential building owners must disclose benchmarking data for sale, lease, or refinancing of an entire building by July 1st, 2012.

The Governor signed AB531 in October of 2009 granting the California Energy Commission (CEC) the authority to establish the schedule to implement AB1103.  As a result of the schedule, the city of San Francisco has played a leadership role by developing the Energy Performance Ordinance.

San Francisco – Existing Commercial Building Energy Performance Ordinance

The ordinance has two requirements.  The first portion is benchmarking with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online software. The effort involves entering a building’s physical characteristics into the software and linking the local utility data with the building in Portfolio Manager. The online software then compares that building’s performance with like buildings throughout the country in similar climate zones.  Once the information is tracked in Energy Star, a report is sent to city of San Francisco annually.

The second portion of the ordinance is performing an energy audit by a qualified professional. For buildings over 50k square foot, an ASHRAE Level 2 Audit is required. For buildings under 50k square feet, an ASHRAE Level 1 Audit is required. For more information, visit San Francisco Department of the Environment.