MEP CA AB 1103

AB 802, ENERGY STAR and YOUR Building

MEP Energy Star Certificationr2017 is almost here and that means California Assembly Bill “AB” 802 is about to go into effect. Legislators are pushing commercial building owners and operators to take a more active role with their building's energy use. This push is being made at all scales: national, state wide, and regional. The confluence of ENERGY STAR’s massive growth (exhibited by the EPA's graph below) during the last decade and the expansion of mandatory benchmarking legislature has changed property owner and manager's involvement with and awareness of their utility footprint.

Since CA AB 802 requires participants to use the same online tool to report building gas and electric energy use as ENERGY STAR, it is likely that we will see a further increase in the number of buildings applying for ENERGY STAR PE award certification. AB 802 requires commercial building owners to benchmark their properties using Portfolio Manager, so the buildings will already be halfway done with their certification process if they are at or above the 75-point threshold.

The new mandate, AB 802, is also expected to enable more accurate, efficient, and timely energy efficiency measures. The Assembly Bill (AB 802) will do this by breaking down the barriers between building owners and operators and their full-building utility data. AB 802 requires utility providers to respond to requests for full building utility data within 4 weeks. The gathering of utility data for Multi-tenant buildings has been problematic both for ENERGY STAR certification and for AB 802's predecessor benchmarking law, AB 1103, due to the frequent difficulties posed by obtaining a year of bills from however many tenants occupy the building. AB 802 should go beyond enabling easier benchmarking, and in addition will open the door to an easier ENERGY STAR certification process for managers in buildings that suffer from this problem.

AB 802 is also likely to prompt energy efficiency retrofits as managers and owners will now be competing against other buildings on this new level with energy efficiency transparency in California's real estate market. Once owners become engaged in their energy use they begin thinking of ways to save and often make changes to building operations. Hopefully, once property owners have benchmarked for the first time the result will be the similar to building owners' reactions to ENERGY STAR.

75% of ENERGY STAR participants stated that they would recommend the program to others. ENERGY STAR certified buildings use on average 35% less energy than non-certified buildings of a similar type. Additionally, an EPA study found that benchmarked buildings reduced their energy use by about 2.4% every year. This means ENERGY STAR certified buildings cost less to operate than their non-certified counterparts. On top of this ENERGY STAR certified buildings often have higher rent rates and tenant satisfaction.

California AB 802 is creating accountability and transparency in conjunction with ENERGY STAR’s recognition and reward. Together the two will change California’s approach to energy efficiency, minimize waste, and spread awareness and engagement with our energy infrastructure.

MEP has performed ENERGY STAR certification on thousands of buildings. In 2016 MEP was named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year with over 240 buildings certified. MEP also regularly performs building benchmarks. Contact MEP today for benchmarking assistance be it mandatory or voluntary, and for more information on our Utility Data Management Software program, ENERGY STAR, LEED, Energy Audits, and Mechanical-Electrical-Plumbing energy efficiency engineering design at or call us at 310-782-1410.