With Orlando growing at a rate close to two percent each year, it’s critical that we serve and support our City for generations to come. Currently, energy and water use in Orlando’s buildings accounts for the majority of our City’s contribution to air pollution and are often the second-highest cost associated with renting or owning a building space. However, buildings often waste more than 30 percent of energy through inefficiencies and outdated technologies. In order to address this waste and its community-wide impacts, Mayor Dyer and City Council unanimously passed the City of Orlando’s Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy (BEWES), a policy focused tracking the energy and water efficiency of our largest buildings, in December 2016. By equipping our commercial property owners with this information, we can help to drive efficiency in these spaces, diversify the local economy and create high-wage jobs, saving businesses and residents money and fostering a cleaner and healthier environment.
BEWES calls on existing commercial, institutional and multi-family buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to track whole-building energy use, report to the City annually and make their information transparent to the real estate marketplace. The policy covers less than five percent of Orlando’s buildings, which account for nearly 50 percent of total energy and water used by all buildings citywide.
BEWES focuses on creating information that will enable better decision-making. It does not require buildings to make any mandatory investments. The ordinance has three parts:
- Benchmark energy use (annually): Covered buildings will track basic building information and whole-building energy use (electricity, natural gas and any other fuels, including common spaces and tenant-occupied spaces) using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online tool offered by the US EPA.
- Information Transparency (annually): Starting August 2018*, covered buildings will be required to share their benchmarking score with the City using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.
- Energy Audits or Retro-Commissioning (1x per 5 years): Starting May 2020, buildings that score under the national average (ENERGY STAR score below 50) are required to perform an energy audit OR choose to perform a Retro-commissioning of their base building systems one time every 5 years. The free OUC utility audit is eligible for compliance.
The Benefits and Impact of BEWES
Based on an academic and market study performed by the GreenLink Group, Between 2015 and 2030, the BEWES policy will:
- Save Money and Improve Comfort: This policy will save an estimated $208 million in energy costs over the next 15 years. Enhancements to building energy efficiency will also result in improved comfort and productivity at home and in the workplace.
- Improve Air Quality and Public Health: When local buildings are more energy efficient, they consume less power, resulting in fewer emissions from power plants. With this improved air quality, we can expect $64 million in reduced health care costs citywide.
- Increase Economic Development and Job Creation: Improvements to energy efficiency spurs economic investment through reduced operating costs, increased asset values and improved worker productivity. In addition to benefiting existing positions, this policy will drive the creation of more than 500 local high-wage jobs.
- Reduce Water Supply Constraints: Electric power generation is the largest user of water, so reducing energy demand has a strong effect on preserving our limited water supply. As we face a significant impending water scarcity issue, building energy efficiency will conserve a critical 900 million gallons of fresh water.
- Enhance Our Resilience: Enrich our security and resilience to unexpected energy- or water-related emergencies and avoid an estimated 1.1 million metric tons of carbon pollution.
- Lead the Nation: Improve competitiveness and promote Orlando’s position as a leading sustainable city to attract new businesses and investments and succeed in the global marketplace.
BEWES Compliance Deadlines
|Notification of Benchmarking Requirement|
by the City
|Required Benchmarking and Reporting|
by the Owner
|Transparency of Benchmarking Output Information|
issued by the City
|Notification of Energy Audit or Retro-Commissioning
Issued by City
|Covered city property >10,000 gross square feet||N/A||May 1, 2017||September 1, 2018||May 1, 2020|
|Covered non-city property >50,000 gross square feet||May 2018||August 1, 2018*|
(*This date reflects a three-month extension for first-year compliance.)
|September 1, 2019||May 1, 2020|
As of fall 2016, the City of Orlando now provides a new set of financial tools for home and business owners to help them lower their utility bills and make our buildings more energy and water efficient through the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. PACE removes the barriers of high upfront costs and provides low-interest financing to help residents and business owners looking to modernize, mitigate wind damage and improve the energy and water efficiency of their property. In the Orlando PACE Program, home and business owners can choose from these four state approved third party administrators: Ygrene Energy Fund, the Florida Green Finance Authority, Florida PACE Funding Agency and Renovate America.
Read more about Orlando’s PACE program.
Utility Tools & Resources
Businesses can take advantage of rebates, custom incentive programs and other innovations offered by the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) that can help boost your bottom line. To get started, contact OUC’s Conservation Coordinator to schedule a property assessment. The Coordinator will provide a full energy and water evaluation, which will outline the recommended conservation upgrades and payback periods for each improvement. With the owner’s or designee’s approval to move forward, OUC will oversee the project completion from start to finish utilizing their Preferred Contractor Network or a contractor of your choice.
For more information, call 407.434.2256 or email email@example.com to get started today.
BEWES & City Energy Project
BEWES was developed through Orlando’s participation in the City Energy Project, a national initiative to create healthier and more prosperous American cities by improving the energy efficiency of large buildings. Together, with the other participating cities, this partnership serves to create multiple complementary strategies and energy efficiency solutions that are unique, flexible and serve to support the following goals: promote efficient building operations, promote transparency, encourage private investment and show city leadership.
Read more about Orlando’s CEP.