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Menino announces clean energy ordinance

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced Friday that all large commercial and residential buildings in the city will now disclose energy usage in an effort to encourage investment in energy efficiency.

The Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance was filed with the City Council as a part of the city’s climate plan to reach greenhouse-gas reduction goals.

Menino said this ordinance would help keep Boston at the forefront of the clean energy movement.

“In order for Boston to continue to be a sustainability leader, our buildings must aggressively invest in energy efficiency,” Menino said in a press release Friday. “Bostonians demand buildings with high performance, and this ordinance will encourage building owners to meet that demand.”

The city’s energy use will be tracked through Energy Star Portfolio Manager and all energy and water use per square foot will be made available online for public viewing, according to the press release.

Brian Swett, chief of environment and energy for the city, said this public reporting would help make the city’s energy usage more efficient.

“The Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance follows the principle of what gets measured gets managed,” he said in the press release. “Through measurement and transparency the Ordinance will encourage cost effective building investments in energy and water efficiency that will improve building performance, save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

City officials have been working to collect data on energy usage since 2012 and plans to release their energy findings to the public in the near future.

The criteria for reporting is based on building size. Non-residential buildings with 50,000 square feet or more in 2014, residential buildings with 50 units or more in 2015, non-residential with 25,00 square feet or more in 2016 and residential buildings with 25 units or more in 2017 will all be subject to reports of energy use, according to the press release.

Investing in energy-efficient infrastructure is the largest component of Menino’s climate action plan to dramatically reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the city.

Multiple new building projects throughout the city have already been committed to the green energy effort.

Lisa Pollock, director of media and public relations for the Department of Neighborhood development said three new housing projects in Boston are being built under Energy Star standards.

“It is obviously more expensive to build green, but savings and benefits accumulate over time in things like heating and cooling, water usage and hot water usage,” Pollock said.

City energy initiatives such as Renew Boston and Greenovate Boston will also continue to work with the city to promote a clean energy future.

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