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Evolution Energy Partners is Supporting Philly’s Energy Conservation and
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program

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History

In 2012, Philadelphia joined in with sustainability-focused municipalities across the country and created The Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure Law (Philadelphia Code, Section 9-3402). Since 2012, 27 cities, one county, and three states have established energy benchmarking and transparency requirements covering public, commercial, industrial, and multifamily buildings.

As part of the program, Philadelphia mandated the use of the EPA’s Energy Star and Portfolio Manager to assist with calculating building energy use. As of last year, 320 million square feet of building space conducts mandatory Energy Benchmarking, representing 20 percent of the city’s total square feet of building space.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Where Are We Now?

Philadelphia’s Municipal Energy Master Plan has a goal of cutting the city’s carbon footprint from municipal buildings by 50 percent and procuring 100 percent clean energy by 2030. Mayor Jim Kenney’s goal is to cut carbon pollution citywide by 80 percent by 2050 and move toward using 100 percent clean energy.

The next step in the city’s ambitious energy conservation program, announced in November 2019 (Bill #190600), is the Building Energy Performance Program. The Building Energy Performance Program mandates that all non-residential buildings, 50,000 square feet and larger, must submit a certification of high energy performance to the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability, or conduct a building energy “tune-up” to increase the energy performance of the building.[/vc_column_text][vc_cta h2=””]

The Building Energy Performance Rule (Philadelphia Code 9-3403) contains a number of important provisions, along with a number of important exemptions:

Provisions:

  • Building owners must submit a “building tune-up report”. The tune-up report must summarize energy and water performance issues found by a “qualified tune-up specialist” (licensed P.E. or Certified Energy Manager, CEM), no later than the following schedule:
          • September 30, 2021 for buildings 200,000 sq. ft. or larger
          • September 30, 2022 for buildings 100,000 sq. ft. or larger
          • September 30, 2023 for buildings 70,000 sq. ft. or larger
          • September 30, 2024 for buildings between 50,000 and 70,000 sq. ft.
  • Each building must then re-submit their “tune-up” report every 5 years.
  • Building “tune-ups” must include assessments of certain identified base building systems that use or impact the building’s energy and water use; (e.g. building envelope, heating and ventilation systems, domestic hot water systems, electrical lighting among others).
  • The Philadelphia Office of Sustainability will issue regulations, developed in consultation with stakeholders, to further clarify the specific aspects of the building inspection and tune-up process.

Exemptions:

If your facility is exempt if it meets the following:

  • Received Certified EPA Energy Star Scores of 75 or greater. A qualified energy consultant can conduct an EPA energy benchmark on your building to determine your current EPA Energy Star Certification.
  • Completed an energy audit (ASHRAE Level II) and have implemented the “no-cost/low-cost” energy efficiency measures that were identified in the audit to meet the “Tune-Up” requirements.

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Regulation Update:

On 8/24/20, the Office of Sustainability released their Building Tune-Up Regulations for a mandatory 30-day review and comment, after which they will be released in their final form. Evolution Energy Partners was a proud member of the Office of Sustainability’s “work group” that helped develop the draft guidelines. We added our technical expertise, along with our focus on building owner interests and concerns, to help draft regulations that are workable for most buildings.

 

How Can Building Owners and Operators Best Comply with the Philadelphia Building Energy Performance Rule?

As mentioned above, there are several exemptions to the new City policy that can allow the Building Energy Performance Program to generate potential cash flow and positive savings for a building owner or operator.

Regardless of your strategy to support this pending regulation, as an owner or operator of a 50,000 square foot building in the region, we suggest:

  1. Review the proposed regulation at http://regulations.phila-records.com/ and submit comments to the city.
  2. Contact a certified energy consultant to support your building tune up efforts. (The initial Audit and Strategy report should be executed at no cost.  If it does, call EEP.)

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Click here to reach out to EEP to define a strategy for your organization that will comply with the Philadelphia Building Tune-up Program.

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