Background

The City of Boston enacted the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance in 2013, joining several other US. cities with similar policies.

Building energy reporting and disclosure was one of the key recommendations of Boston’s Climate Action Leadership Committee and Community Advisory Committee. The two committees released their recommendations in 2010, in a report entitled “Sparking Boston’s Climate Revolution.” In turn, a reporting and disclosure policy was included in Boston’s Climate Action Plan as a component of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020.

In conjunction, the City launched Renew Boston, an innovative public-private partnership to boost energy efficiency and alternative energy services for Boston residents and businesses. Renew Boston, in partnership with Northeast Utilities/NSTAR, National Grid, Next Step Living, Inc. and RISE Engineering, provides Boston residents and businesses with technical assistance and financial incentives to lower the impacts of high energy costs.

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The Ordinance

In May 2013, the City of Boston enacted the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance, adopted as Section 7-2.2 of the City of Boston Code. In passing the ordinance, Boston joined other U.S. cities that have passed similar policies, including New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. At full implementation, Boston’s ordinance requires all buildings over 35,000 square feet to report their annual energy and water performance to the City, which will then make the information publicly available. Different classes of buildings are required to start reporting in different years:

  • 2013: Municipal buildings

  • 2014: Non-residential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet

  • 2015: Residential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet or 50 units

  • 2016: Non-residential buildings greater than 35,000 square feet

  • 2017: Residential buildings greater than 35,000 square feet or 35 units

In addition, buildings are required to conduct an energy assessment or action every five years, with exemptions provided for buildings that are already efficient or making significant progress on efficiency.

The Air Pollution Control Commission (APCC) has responsibility for the implementation of energy reporting and disclosure, including the development of regulations. The PACC’s work on the ordinance is supported by an Advisory Committee representing all sectors of Boston’s real estate market.

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