New Utility Benchmarking and Reporting Requirements for Commercial Buildings
For the first time, certain owners of commercial buildings over 25,000 square feet will be required to report the building’s energy and water usage to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU). These benchmarking reports will be due annually with the first report due by October 1, 2023, covering utility usage from the 2022 calendar year. This program is being developed by the BPU as required by New Jersey’s Clean Energy Act of 2018 and is substantially similar to energy benchmarking programs already in place in other states and municipalities, including Philadelphia.
The list of covered buildings will be constructed from the state’s Tax Assessment Database and therefore buildings owned by tax exempt entities will not be covered. Owners of covered buildings should receive a notification from the BPU by July 1, 2023. Utility usage would be reported using EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager online application, and a number of exemptions may be available upon application, including exemptions for new buildings (through the first year of operations), buildings to be demolished, unoccupied buildings, and others. The BPU will be establishing procedures to obtain data from the water and energy utilities and, where needed, to obtain tenant consent. The data will eventually be reported out to the public in a format to be determined, although, according to the BPU, the public reports will not be available for five years.
The BPU is currently holding stakeholder meetings and accepting public comments on the proposed program until January 30, 2023. We have assisted several of our clients with exemption applications and the preparation and submittal of ENERGY STAR benchmarking reports under Philadelphia’s existing benchmarking program.