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City Demands Energy Use Data on Apartments and Commercial Buildings
By News Release @ 2:30 AM :: 1487 Views :: Honolulu County, Energy, Cost of Living

Better Buildings Benchmarking Program enters second year of helping local buildings conserve water, slash emissions and save money

News Release from City and County of Honolulu, Feb 23, 2024 

OʻAHU – The Better Buildings Benchmarking Program, which requires large commercial and multi-family buildings to report aggregate energy and water utility data annually to the City and County of Honolulu, is now in its second year of implementation.

Starting in 2023, buildings 100,000 square feet and larger were required to begin annually reporting their utility data to the City. By June 30, 2024, buildings 50,000 square feet and larger must report, followed by buildings 25,000 square feet and larger by June 30, 2025. The City recently sent out letters to buildings 50,000 square feet and larger, reminding building management of the June 30 reporting deadline and directing them to the webpage.

The Better Buildings Benchmarking Program delivers on the City’s community-driven Climate Action Plan and Oʻahu Resilience Strategy to empower property owners and building managers to save money, improve operations, and reduce utility waste and greenhouse gas pollution. Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed Ordinance 22-17 into law in 2022, demonstrating his support for economic resilience, resource efficiency and climate action.

To assist building owners and property managers with compliance, the Mayor’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency (Resilience Office) provides comprehensive resources, guides, and a newsletter subscription, all available at Help Desk appointments are open for scheduling one-on-one assistance, while a second round of virtual trainings are available on the following dates:

• March 20, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
• April 24, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The Better Buildings Benchmarking webpage also features a brand-new Buildings Transparency Map that allows the public to view the data of large commercial and multi-family buildings across Oʻahu. Public reporting facilitates market innovation toward voluntary savings, and consumer awareness and choice. The Transparency Map also informs on compliance and noncompliance with reporting requirements, along with other ways to compare buildings of similar size, use type, and age, among other ways to analyze the data. The map will update with each year’s submitted calendar year data and show building trends over time as the program progresses.

“Buildings are responsible for about one-third of all greenhouse gas pollution here on Oʻahu and as we’ve been impacted by long periods of drought and contamination at Kapūkakī (Red Hill), it’s more important than ever to conserve our precious freshwater,” said Matthew Gonser, executive director and chief resilience officer of the Resilience Office. “Benchmarking unlocks the power of information for market innovation and consumer choice, and enables the City to more equitably and strategically invest critical resources to help our local building owners, operators, and tenants with utility savings, while also addressing climate change. Benchmarking is a win-win for economic resilience and climate action.”

To date, cities such as Denver, Portland, OR, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have seen building-level savings of 4-7% over the first few years of benchmarking implementation.

Residents and businesses looking to save money, and cut energy and water waste are encouraged to take advantage of incentives and rebates offered by the Board of Water Supply and Hawaiʻi Energy.

Per Ordinance 20-47, the City has been leading by example by tracking and reporting performance of its buildings 10,000 square feet and larger in the “Sustainable City Operations” section of the City’s Annual Sustainability Report. The City continues to learn from its own data and invest in its own facilities to realize operational savings through two energy savings performance contracts, one for Citywide facilities and one specifically for the Department of Parks and Recreation.



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