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City of St. Louis large building energy reporting deadline is May 1

Hap Burke Dan Engle February 7, 2019

In 2017, the City of St. Louis passed an ordinance requiring that all municipal, institutional, commercial and multi-family buildings within the city that are 50,000 square feet or more in size are required to benchmark and report annual energy and water consumption. This is done through the city’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

This annual filing is due from applicable commercial property owners by May 1, 2019. This will be the second reporting period following passage of the ordinance in 2017. The initial filing was due last year by May 1, 2018. We are finding that many property owners with affected properties in the City of St. Louis may have overlooked this new reporting requirement.

The city has a list of 802 buildings which it thinks are covered by this ordinance, listed by address, under the “Results” tab of the above website.

Reporting is relatively easy, as explained on the site’s “How to Comply” section. Each property owner first must create an account in the Energy Star Portfolio Manager and then enter the entire building gas, electric and water data for the previous year. Information required includes year built, occupancy level, total gross floor area (including parking areas) and property use details for each specific space use, including weekly operating hours, number of computers, the percentage of building that is heated or cooled, and other data. The full list of required information, by building type, can be found in the Portfolio Manager Data Collection Worksheet.

The information from the completed worksheet is then submitted by the property owner to the St. Louis Building Division. This program will also track the city’s municipal buildings, in addition to the institutional, commercial and multi-family residential of at least 50,000 square feet in size.

If the building generates wind, solar or other “green” power on site, then the building owner would follow the information in the PDF guide, “How to Benchmark Green Power Generated Onsite.”

The financial penalty for failure to timely comply is more of a nudge than a bludgeon. The city will first send a written warning notice to an owner who they realize has not complied. If that doesn’t prompt compliance within 60 days, then a fine is imposed of $50-$200 per violation, not to exceed $1,000 annually. However, of more significance is that buildings not in compliance will not be issued new occupancy permits until the energy reporting requirements are met. Note, however, that the ordinance does not mandate, in any form, improvements, energy audits or retrofits of any kind to a building.

The city cites, as some of the benefits of an energy benchmarking ordinance, that affected building owners will consider operational and behavior changes that lead to greater energy efficiency and lower operational costs. This in turn is hoped to lead to decreased electrical usage and improved air quality.

E-mails with specific questions about complying with this ordinance can be e-mailed to the city at benchmarking@stlouis-mo.gov; or by contacting the City Energy Project Technical Advisor, Rajiv Ravulapati at ravulapatir@stlouis-mo.gov  Tel (314) 622-3616.

For legal advice pertaining to the ordinance, please contact:

Dan Engle

Hap Burke