Sharing Transparency for a More Efficient Future


Boston, Massachusetts, photo by Sean Paveone
Policy Description:

In 2010, the Boston Climate Action Leadership Committee, a multi-sector task force, recommended policy action on the buildings sector to Mayor Tom Menino. Shortly thereafter, the mayor launched the Boston Climate Action Plan, an ambitious blueprint for aggressively reducing the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. As a corollary to this climate plan, the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance was filed with the Boston City Council on February 22, 2013. The ordinance aimed to publicize the energy and water performance of Boston's buildings, and oblige the poor performers to undertake measures that could help lead to increased efficiency of utility usage. In order to lead by example, the city benchmarked its building stock with Energy Star Portfolio Manager, and publicly disclosed the results in the summer of 2013. The ordinance requires that buildings report energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and water use to the city using Portfolio Manager (or an equivalent tool, as approved by the Air Pollution Control Commission). Buildings registering poor energy, emissions, and water performance--and not demonstrating improvement--will be required to undertake energy assessments or audits every five years. However, owners are not required to act on the results of an audit.

Enacted Date:
Authority in Charge:
Air Pollution Control Commission
Tool Name:
ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager
Building Types Affected Size Compliance Deadline
Public/Government ALL 2013-06-15
Multi-Family Greater Than or Equal To 50,000 Sq. Feet 2015-05-15
Multi-Family Greater Than or Equal To 50 Dwellings 2015-05-15
Multi-Family Greater Than or Equal To 35,000 Sq. Feet 2017-05-15
Multi-Family Greater Than or Equal To 35 Dwellings 2017-05-15
Non-Residential Greater Than or Equal To 50,000 Sq. Feet 2014-09-15
Non-Residential Greater Than or Equal To 35,000 Sq. Feet 2016-05-15
On May 14, Mayor Walsh signed an amendment to extend the 2014 reporting deadline to September 15th (originally it was May 15th), providing additional flexibility for implementation in the first year. Threshold also includes two or more non-residential buildings on the same parcel that equal or exceed 100,000 gross square feet.
Number of Buildings Affected:
Floor Area Affected:
250,000,000 Sq. Feet
Required Transparency:
Transparency Method:
Public Website
Public Website
Transparency Trigger:
Date Certain
Required Reporting:
Reporting Trigger:
Date Certain
Reporting Frequency:

Utility Requirements/Support:

Utility Requirements/Support:
Building owners may authorize an energy or water utility or other third party to report building-specific data on their behalf to the Commission.




Compliance Enforcement:
Penalties for Non-Compliance:
$75 to $200 per day for owners. Maximum annual fine is $3,000. Non-residential tenants may be fined up to $35 at a time for failing to supply building owners with their energy data. Residential tenants will not be fined.
Compliance Rate (Based on Building Area):
84% (2014)
In the case of non-compliance, warning notice is mailed to the building owner, indicating 30 days to comply or request a hearing. Failure to comply with the notice of violation or adverse hearing decision may result in fines based on square footage of property. Fines also listed for non-residential tenants who fail to comply.
Additional Program Information:
All buildings covered by the energy rating requirements must also conduct a periodic energy assessment (audit) or energy action once every 5 years. Energy assessment requirements are based on ASHRAE energy audit standards. Energy actions may include significant investments in energy efficiency, development of comprehensive energy management plans, retrocommissioning of energy systems, and similar actions. Exceptions are based on the following criteria: Energy Star rating of 75 or above; LEED Certification, pattern of significant improvement in energy efficiency or greenhouse gas emissions; a building's comprehensive energy management plan or inclusion in an institutional comprehensive energy management plan; or other factors that recognize the complexity of buildings and building management
Water Use Tracking: