Kansas City Passes Benchmarking Law for Large Buildings

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Kansas City, Missouri Resoundingly Passes a Benchmarking and Transparency Ordinance for Large Buildings

NRDC Switchboard, June 5, 2015. Image credit: Unsplash

Kansas City, Missouri has just joined the prestigious collection of progressive American cities with a benchmarking and transparency ordinance for large existing buildings. Fittingly entitled the Energy Empowerment Ordinance, Kansas City’s city council voted12-1 to pass this ordinance, which will require buildings of 50,000 square feet or more to benchmark their energy and water use and report the data to the City. The City will then share that data with the public online, empowering building owners, tenants, investors, and the business community with the information they need to make better choices when it comes to building energy and water use.

This kind of building information is critical. Buildings currently account for more than 70 percent of the Kansas City region’s total energy use and carbon emissions. The Energy Empowerment Ordinance could cumulatively reduce energy bills in the city’s largest buildings by $394 million and generate more than 1,000 jobs by 2030, as well as reduce carbon pollution.

A recent study showed a benchmarking policy like the one Kansas City has just passed has led to consistent energy reductions each year the ordinance has been in place, totaling a 6 percent reduction in energy use over four years. These results show that just having the information available about a building’s energy performance empowers building owners to take steps to reduce energy use.

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