In Orlando, we’ve made great strides when our residents, businesses and community join together to help achieve a common vision that furthers the resilience of our city. From SunRail to our Community Venues to the new Downtown UCF/Valencia campus to even solving chronic homelessness, we’ve accomplished so much together.
And there’s more to do. Together in 2012, we mapped out how we wanted our community to become cleaner and greener. Through this community action plan, we created a road map that has guided accomplishments like increasing residential recycling, reducing food waste with our composting program and making our city cooler with our One Person, One Tree initiative to grow our tree canopy.
On September 15, our City Council will have the opportunity to further that vision – specifically our goal to reduce our community’s energy use by 25 percent by 2040 – by voting on adopting a Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy (BEWES), a new partnership with our large-commercial property owners.
In our city, large-commercial buildings, those over 50,000 square-feet, represent less than five percent of all commercial buildings, but they also are responsible for 50 percent of the total consumption of water and electricity. We know these resources are finite and the cost of these resources will continue to rise as our community grows. That’s why we are proposing BEWES to equip our commercial property owners with this critical information, so they can make strategic decisions to handle economic and environmental changes.
Through BEWES, a strategy modeled after other forward-thinking cities like New York, Boston and Seattle, our large-commercial buildings will be required to benchmark and report their facility’s energy and water usage each year using a free EPA ENERGY STAR tool beginning in May 2018. The information collected by the program will also be made public on the City’s website for anyone to view. The City will also report the same information for all of our City-owned buildings that are larger than 10,000 square-feet.
For property owners, this information provides the knowledge they need to make decisions that can help to increase operational efficiencies, create cost savings and invest in the overall future of our city. Here at the City, we are already seeing investments like this paying off, through improvements we’re making at 55 of our buildings, which will save us up to $2.5 million per year – freeing dollars we can invest in our parks, public safety services and youth programs.
Together, we can continue to further our goals to conserve our resources and minimize our impact on our environment, ultimately benefiting everyone who lives, works, learns and plays in the City of Orlando.
– Buddy Dyer, Mayor