Building Metrics: The Commercial Building's Equivalent to the MPG

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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts' roadmap to address the threat of global warming, the 2008 "Global Warming Solutions Act," calls for an 10-25% statewide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Much of this reduction must come from the commercial and industrial buildings, as they account for over half of the state's energy use.  Massachusetts is proposing to develop and implement a building energy labeling program that includes both asset and operational energy ratings.  The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) issued this report, which outlines salient issues and strategies. 

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Some key design issues discussed in the state's report include: what is being measured, the label and the information it conveys and the process by which the data is collected and shared.

Massachusetts's strategy will rely on one of the key features of WegoWise, comparitive analysis. With comparative analysis, data from multiple buildings can be compared across a number of different utilities and building owners can quickly and easily  find which areas of their properties need improvement.

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Wegowise staff have also been participating in discussions with the US EPA on developing an Energy Star standard for existing multifamily buildings.  EPA hopes to roll out this new standard in 2013. Under this plan, the actual usage of multifamily buildings would be compared to a data sampling of similar buildings, and an energy star score would be generated.  Only buildings in the top 25% of performance would be awarded the Energy Star label.

Policies such as this one, that encourage buildings to track, disclose and monitor their energy use have been instrumental in encouraging energy efficiency, creating jobs, and reducing emissions.