After multiple drafts to work out the finer details, the city of Salt Lake City passed an ordinance to require building owners to report their energy scores. In a victory for the city, officials project that each year, the ordinance will save local building owners $15.8 million while cutting 29 tons of pollutants
The new ordinance requires owners of commercial buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to provide the city with an annual report of their facilities energy usage, a step toward the city’s goals of using 100 percent renewable electricity by 2032 and reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2040. As commercial buildings account for 51% of the local carbon footprint, this ordinance is quite the positive step in tackling the issue.
Earlier versions of the ordinance were met with heavy resistance from not only city officials, but The Church of Latter-Day Saints as well. The LDS church has significant real estate holdings in Salt Lake City. Compromises had to be made to appease all parties ranging from the faith, legislative, and business communities.
The final version adopted applies only to municipal and commercial buildings, not to places of worship or tax-exempt buildings. In addition, instead of publishing the energy scores of all such buildings, the city will publish only those buildings deemed to be more efficient than 50 percent of similar buildings nationwide, while giving building owners the option to go further and share their exact scores. Finally, potential tuneups identified during energy use assessments will be voluntary, though city officials think many of those tuneups will make sense to building owners from environmental and financial standpoints.
The ordinance will be phased in over the next three years. Owners of commercial buildings that are over 50,000 square feet will need to begin reporting May 2019, while owners of buildings that are between 25,000 and 50,000 square feet will have until May 2020.