Opposition Voiced on Energy Benchmarking in Kansas City

energy benchmarking in Kansas City
Gita Subramony for Zondits, May 6, 2015. Image credit: calebdzahnd

Kansas City mayor Sly James is sponsoring a city law that would require buildings over 100,000 square feet to conduct energy benchmarking. Initially, the rule will apply to city buildings, but it will eventually expand to other sectors. However, the proposed rule has its fair share of detractors. Building owners and real estate developers are worried that publicly available benchmarking results might unfairly disadvantage buildings with bad scores. Others have also complained that mandatory benchmarking is too costly and burdensome for building owners, especially those with older structures.

This argument against benchmarking is tough to swallow, though: Wouldn’t it be better to identify poorly performing buildings and use that information to implement energy saving strategies that would reduce operating costs on the whole? Although benchmarking in and of itself does not achieve energy savings, it is the first step in the process of making informed decisions about efficient building operations.

Other cities have successfully implemented mandatory benchmarking laws. Among these cities are NYC, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Portland, Oregon.

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Proposal to rate the energy efficiency of Kansas City buildings prompts backlash

Kansas City Star, April 24, 2015

Kansas City is considering a plan to require large buildings to publicly report their energy consumption, much like gas mileage disclosures on cars.

Kansas City would follow 13 other cities nationally that require this reporting, and advocates say it has the potential to lead to major energy improvements.

“It will encourage energy efficiency,” said Councilman Scott Taylor, who is sponsoring the ordinance with Mayor Sly James. “I think the majority of taxpayers and citizens will support this for sure. This is where every city is going in the country.”

But representatives of some of Kansas City’s largest buildings object, arguing it will be just another expensive mandate that will put them at a competitive disadvantage with cities that don’t have this requirement.

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