Building energy disclosure rule delayed until September

The California Energy Commission on Thursday delayed until Sept. 1 energy-use benchmarking that will be required before sales, full-building leases and financing of California commercial buildings larger than 50,000 square feet, expanding to smaller buildings next year, under a new state law.

The postponement came because the primary tool for compliance will be offline for upgrades as the first phase of the regulations were to take effect.Under the Nonresidential Building Energy Use Disclosure Program ( -- better known by its enacting legislation, Assembly Bill 1103 -- building owners will have to give a prospective property buyer or full-building tenant three reports from the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Star Portfolio Manager online software at least 24 hours before execution of the sale or lease. A prospective lender would have to receive those documents along with the loan application.Also, a compliance form is submitted to the California Energy Commission.

But the regulations released by the commission in February require action earlier than 24 hours. At least 30 days before the sale, lease or loan request, the property owner must have created a free Portfolio Manager account or updated it with the most recent 12 months of energy-use data from the utility or energy provider.

AB 1103 takes effect for 50,000-plus-square foot buildings first, for those larger than 10,000 square feet on Jan. 1 and on July 1, 2014, for buildings larger than 5,000 square feet, the smallest for which Portfolio Manager will generate a 1--100 score. Multifamily housing is excluded from the compliance requirement.Compliance software to be offline

[caption id="attachment_74886" align="alignright" width="300"] The number of buildings nationwide with Energy Star Portfolio Manager benchmarking data is approaching 300,000.[/caption]

Energy Star Portfolio Manager has more than 250,000 buildings and 40,000-plus owner accounts in its database and is the mandated tool for commercial building energy performance benchmarking and disclosure requirements nationwide.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been preparing a major upgrade to Portfolio Manager for a few years. The system was set to go offline for the upgrade June 26--July 9, later extended through July 16.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the main energy provider in Northern California, had been recommending owners of large buildings needing to close a deal before July 15 complete the benchmarking process and print reports from Portfolio Manager before the shutdown, according to spokeswoman Katie Key.

PG&E's system for automatically transmitting building and preauthorized tenant utility bill data to Portfolio Manager won't be working during that time, she added. That data exchange has been operational since early last year and is feeding information on as many as 8,000 buildings.

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