EBEWE: The Time is Now!

EBEWE: The Time is Now!

By Holly Hill

Three weeks to go!  Are you prepared for implementation of the Existing Buildings Energy & Water Efficiency (EBEWE) Ordinance in the City of Los Angeles?

The ordinance aims to improve the energy and water efficiency in existing buildings throughout the city of Los Angeles through benchmarking, performance improvements and public disclosure. The ordinance comes on the heels of LADWP’s energy efficiency goals, Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainability pLAn, state-wide Assembly Bill 758 and Governor Brown’s water reduction mandates.  Additionally, Los Angeles is one of 22 cities nation-wide with similar laws.

The ordinance has three main components: benchmarking, performance and public disclosure.  The ordinance is applicable to privately-owned buildings, greater than 20,000 square feet, located in the City of Los Angeles (this includes commercial, multi-family and industrial).  Public buildings greater than 7,500 square feet must comply with benchmarking and greater than 15,000 square feet must comply with the efficiency actions. There are very few building typology exceptions to the ordinance.

Energy and Water Use Benchmarking: Buildings > 100,000 sf due July 1, 2017

Data reporting and subsequent benchmarking a building’s energy and water use is the first step required in the EBEWE Ordinance. Building owners and/or property managers are responsible for reporting whole building gas, electricity and water consumption in US EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (ESPM). The tool is a widely-accepted benchmarking tool where responsible parties must input the past year’s 12 months of energy and water data by reporting due dates based upon building square footage. The building will receive an ENERGY STAR Score for the property and then complete a “Benchmarking Report” from Portfolio Manager. In order to comply with the ordinance, the Benchmarking Report must be submitted to the LADBS Public Database. Once initial benchmarking is complete, a new benchmark report must be submitted to Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety annually by April 1st of each year.

Energy and Water Building Performance

The second component of the EBEWE Ordinance is demonstrated energy and water consumption reduction. This can be done through a performance approach or a prescriptive approach.  For the performance approach, a building can demonstrate compliance once every five years by maintaining the ENERGY STAR certification, or by demonstrating a 15% Energy Use Intensity (EUI) reduction.  If the building already achieves ENERGY STAR thresholds for energy, then only annual reporting is required and no additional reductions are necessary.

The water baseline is being determined, but is expected to align with current CALGreen code.  That is, if the building meets current code it will likely comply with the minimum water performance thresholds required.  If the building has outdated fixtures and is far below code minimum, it will likely need to implement water efficiency measures to meet the to-be-established baseline. A building must demonstrate a 20% Water Use Intensity (WUI) reduction or conduct a water audit every five years to comply with the ordinance.

The prescriptive compliance approach involves retro-commissioning and energy and water audits. Under this method, building owners must engage a qualified energy professional such as a California licensed PE or Commissioning Agent, to conduct an energy and water audit. The audit must meet the ASHRAE Level II standard and provide opportunities and recommendations to save money via building energy and water usage. Potential areas of concern include mechanical systems, lighting controls, water heating, and renewable energy systems.  The building owners are expected to implement the measures identified in the ASHRAE Level II audit to eventually achieve an ENERGY STAR score and demonstrated water savings.  Reductions are required every five years, based upon the last digit of the AIN, until the energy and water performance thresholds are achieved.

Public Disclosure

The final piece of the ordinance is public disclosure of the building’s data. Implementation of this part of the ordinance is not finalized and it is still to be determined whether DBS will publish the actual building energy and water performance data, or simply identify those building which are not in compliance with the ordinance.

How Verdical Group is Involved
  • Discuss and learn about the ordinance with our Director of Sustainability, Holly Hill. Shortly after EBEWE was unanimously adopted by LA city council on December 14th, 2017, Holly was selected to be a speaker in the USGBC-LA Existing Building Speakers Bureau. Holly gave a presentation on April 7th, 2017 at the first in a series of sessions called “First Fridays,” which the City is hosting to educate the market on the requirements of the new ordinance.
  • Let us report your information to DBS to meet the benchmarking deadline.
  • Contact us for retro-commissioning and auditing services.
Additional Resources