Part 1 of the Ordinance – Benchmarking

Los Angeles is not the first city to implement energy benchmarking, New York CityDenver ColoradoBoston MassachusettsWashington DCBerkeleySan Jose and San Francisco among others led the way.

In December 2016, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to pass the EBEWE (Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency) Program Ordinance. The city of Los Angeles is aiming to reduce energy consumption by 30% by the year 2035. The Ordinance effects the entire Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) territory and requires government, commercial and multifamily buildings that are 20,000 square feet or larger to comply. Building owners will need to create a Benchmark Report utilizing Energy Star Portfolio Manager and submit the report to the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) annually. The report is due by June 1st of every year. Currently, if late, a $202.00 late fee will be charged.

Whether you have one tenant, multiple tenants or many residents, the electric, water and gas monthly usage must be aggregated for “whole building” reporting. Benchmarking requires one to deftly navigate through the online request process of multiple agencies such as LADWP, SoCal Gas and the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, each with unique submission requirements and wait times. Aggregated data requests then need to be tied back into Portfolio Manager and proper care made to ensure that the Energy Star software receives the correct aggregated data. The process is confusing, but property owners can navigate the entire process themselves.

If you just don’t have the time or desire to learn this somewhat complex process and software, there are 19 companies listed by the City of Los Angeles as local service providers that are vetted 3rd party vendors to assist you in benchmarking and reporting your building in compliance with the Ordinance.

Part 2 of the Ordinance – Performance

Benchmarking your building is Part 1 of the Ordinance. Part 2 is PERFORMANCE starting as early as 2020. The due date for performance is dictated by the last digit of the Property’s Assessor Information Number (AIN). Every 5 years the building must demonstrate savings of 15% in energy (combined electric & gas) and 20% in water or have implemented several of the projects outlined in the Ordinance. If you are unable to meet these goals, then a building energy and water audit will need to be performed or overseen and stamped by a California Licensed Professional Engineer or Architect with the findings submitted to the city.

However, once the building is proven to be energy and water efficient, it is eligible to be Energy Star Certified or have a California Licensed Professional Engineer or Architect sign and stamp an affidavit and the building will be exempt from the performance part of the Ordinance but not the benchmarking.

In addition to the city’s EBEWE Program Ordinance, there is a statewide initiative California Assembly Bill 802 (AB 802) in which commercial buildings 50,000 square feet and larger were required to benchmark starting June 2018.  Multifamily or mixed-use buildings with 17 or more units must report starting June 2019. However, if the property complied with the EBEWE Program Ordinance, they are exempt of the state requirement.

Debbie Smith is Director of Operations, eBenchmark Plus. She is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Professional Project Manager (PMP), WELL Accredited Professional and WELL Certified Testing Agent. Visit www.ebenchmarkplus.com for more details, call 323-353-0255 or email info@ebenchmarkplus.com.