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Massachusetts To Require Disclosure Of Energy Usage From Large Buildings – Renewables

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Lost amid the more high profile items in Massachusetts’
recently enacted Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind is
a requirement that the Department of Energy Resources establish a
program requiring large buildings across the Commonwealth to report
energy usage on an annual basis. The requirement goes into effect
on July 1, 2024, but DOER has an additional year (until July 1,
2025) to draft implementing regulations and establish the
parameters of the reporting program. Once the program is up and
running, the data will be made publicly available on DOER’s
website on a building-by-building basis. The law requires reporting
for buildings with at least 20,000 sf of gross floor area, but DOER
may lower that threshold by regulation. The reporting burden falls
on both building owners and distribution companies.

Building-specific energy usage data collection of this type is
widely seen as laying the groundwork for future building
decarbonization efforts, including the establishment of building
emissions performance standards. The cities of Boston and Cambridge
(and most recently Chelsea) already have building energy disclosure
ordinances, each of which require annual reporting of energy usage
for large buildings (Boston and Chelsea at a threshold of 20,000 sf, Cambridge at 25,000 sf). And Boston is now
layering emission reduction requirements on top of those

Seven years after passing its first building energy
and disclosure ordinance (now known as BERDO 1.0),
Boston last fall passed a building emissions reduction and
disclosure ordinance (known as BERDO 2.0). Using the data gathered
under the first ordinance for benchmarking, Boston has set
declining emissions targets starting in 2025 with an end goal of
net zero emissions for all large buildings by 2050. While Boston is
still working out the details, including how
renewable energy credits and power purchase agreements will play
into compliance, it is clearly headed down a path of building
decarbonization (see our recent post on Boston’s efforts to ban
fossil fuel hookups in new construction and major renovations).

So how will this play out for the regulated community in
Massachusetts? In response to concerns about the potential for
conflicting reporting requirements at the local and state level,
Boston has promised to work with DOER during the adoption of the
statewide program to share expertise and lessons learned. Time will
tell whether the Commonwealth follows Boston’s lead and
ultimately sets emissions reduction standards for the building
sector as well. Don’t bet against it.

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