Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. Energy Disclosure Law

Washington, D.C. enacted the Green Building Act of 2006 with the aim of cutting down on buildings’ environmental and economic impact by making them “greener”; i.e. more energy efficient and thereby more cost-effective and sustainable.  Washington, D.C. was the first U.S. jurisdiction to require annual energy benchmarking  and disclosure  of energy ratings for commercial buildings.

The Act requires that buildings not only meet certain LEED certification standards, but also that building owners benchmark and disclose their building’s energy ratings, all according to a phase-in schedule.  The schedule for building ratings begins in 2010 and goes according to square footage, beginning with buildings of 200,000 sq. ft. or more and decreasing by 50,000 square feet each year, until reaching the floor of 50,000 square feet.  Building owners must begin disclosing these ratings beginning in 2012.

What makes the district’s law particularly unique is that it requires discolsure of energy ratings independent of any transaction and also to the general public.  Other jurisdictions only require disclosure when there is a sale, lease or financing of a building, and ratings are only released to prospective buyers, lesees or financiers.   D.C. instead requires owners to publish up-to-date building energy performance data to a public, online database.