Berkeley, California (Friday, January 31, 2014) -
Twenty-nine Berkeley businesses were honored Thursday evening for benchmarking their energy use, a critical step toward saving their own money and making Berkeley a more sustainable city.
These recipients of the Energy Smart Awards, who were congratulated by Mayor Tom Bates and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, account for approximately 150 buildings.They included most of the city's grocery stores, a hospital and, for the first time, multi-family housing units.
Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of commercial buildings is an essential step for Berkeley as a whole to achieve the goals of the Climate Action Plan, whose creation was initiated by voters in 2006. Among all buildings in Berkeley, commercial buildings' energy use accounts for 52 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
The tracking is simple and the benefits are substantial. By uploading a building's PG&E data into the free online tracker, ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, businesses can learn about their energy use and qualify for the annual Energy Smart Awards. Businesses use the benchmarking to identify ways to save energy and money while making buildings more comfortable.
"Benchmarking our buildings with Portfolio Manager not only allows us to compare energy use between stores but is also used as a tool to identify potential areas for improvement," said Greg Michaelson, Energy Projects Analyst for Safeway, Inc..
While the movement toward benchmarking is well underway in Berkeley, it is increasingly required by state law. As of January 1, AB 1103 required commercial buildings over 10,000 square feet to disclose energy benchmarks when they sell, refinance, or lease their property. On July 1, the requirement will expand to buildings over 5,000 square feet.
The ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager benchmarking software, developed by the EPA, tracks energy use and provides buildings a 1-100 energy efficiency score relative to other similar sized buildings.
Thursday night's event was hosted by the East Bay Environmental Network (EBEN) and the Building Owners and Management Association of the East Bay (BOMA East Bay) and included businesses and the mayors from the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland. A map of the Energy Smart Award winners is posted at: www.cityofberkeley.info/energysmartaward
The 2014 Berkeley Energy Smart Award Winners: