Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Second Look at ES2SSB 5854

Given tightened budgets, government building managers are already taking another look at cost-effective ways of complying with the provisions of Public law ES2SSB. To make the most of the law, property managers are reviewing architectural, engineering, security and technical stability of most buildings under their care. They are seeking cooperation and team work to help meet the provisions of the law. This is hardly a surprise, considering the magnitude of effort required to meet the provisions of the law.

ES2SSB 5854 goes into law in January 2010, seeking to reduce climate pollution in built environment. As provided, qualifying utilities shall upload the energy consumption data from owners of building or property managers to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s energy star portfolio manager. The choice of method used to report energy use data must maximize efficiency and minimize overall program cost. Utilities who have the obligation to report the energy use data to the US Environmental Protection has the option of working on a complementary reporting system that suits the guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency. The whole process depends on cooperative efforts between utility companies, the US EPA, property owners and/or managers of public and private buildings. The complementary effort of all groups to work together to make this law work may be traced to the initial effort made by the Efficiency and Green Buildings (EEGB) Implementation Work Group who sought cooperation and made recommendations to the Climate Action Team of business, academic, tribal, state and local government, labor, religious, and environmental leaders, who sought to help the state meet its mandatory requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

To be successful, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the design, construction and operations of buildings are meeting superior energy performance, including the use of a combination of heat, water and power systems in the monitored buildings for energy efficiency. There must be a way for property managers to work with the utility companies in meeting the EPA benchmarks for energy efficiency use in public buildings, many of which are sprawled through the urbanized centers of Washington State (Seattle, Spokane, Bellevue, Redmond, Kent, Federal Way, Richland, Pullman and a few other places around the State). Further, each group participating in this process must perceive itself as a watch dog for the greater good of the total effort to bring down energy use and carbon dioxide reduction.

The cooperation to report benchmarking data and rating of energy-use efficiency are expected to be phased in for nonpublic and nonresidential buildings of greater than fifty thousand square feet in January 2011 and those greater than ten thousand square feet in January 2012. Based on the experience of property managers of public building in the first twelve month of energy-use efficiency data reporting to the EPA, it is very feasible that the learning curve of the process would be less steep and experience learned from public building managers will serve both owners and property managers of building of the sizes coming up in the subsequent 24 months of the introduction of the law, very well.
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