DOE Resources Help Measure Building Energy Benchmarking Policy & Program Effectiveness

The Energy Department has released two resources to help stakeholders analyze the energy, non-energy, and market transformation impacts of building energy benchmarking policies and programs. The first is a handbook that provides methodologies for jurisdictions to use to analyze the impact of their benchmarking policies and programs. The second resource demonstrates the methodologies using real data from New York City’s benchmarking ordinance, Local Law 84 (LL84). Building energy benchmarking is the process of measuring how efficiently a building uses energy relative to the other similar buildings over time.

The DOE Benchmarking & Transparency Policy and Program Impact Evaluation Handbook provides cost-effective, standardized analytic methods for determining gross and net energy reduction, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions mitigation, job creation and economic growth impacts. The Handbook also provides an extensive, holistic framework for evaluating the market transformation progress of benchmarking policies. It is a “how-to” guide with clear procedures and data requirements, permitting any jurisdiction or interested party—such as consultants, researchers, or government officials—to assess benchmarking polices in a consistent manner.

DOE also sponsored the New York City Benchmarking and Transparency Policy Impact Evaluation Report, which uses the methodologies detailed in the Handbook to evaluate results to date from New York City’s benchmarking policy, LL84. The report finds that between 2010 and 2013—the first four years of LL84—buildings covered by the ordinance reduced their energy use by 5.7% and lowered their GHG emissions by 8.3%, and that the benchmarking efforts directly created 39 jobs as well another roughly 7,000 jobs created through the resulting energy-efficiency activities. These figures are particularly encouraging given that during the same period the gross domestic product in New York City grew by 4.2% and the cost of electricity fell by 8.4%; despite these trends, covered buildings still reduced their energy use. Furthermore, the report notes that awareness of building energy performance is growing in New York City, and that building energy use information is playing an increasingly important role in real estate decisions.

These encouraging results—which were derived from the methodologies outlined in the Handbook suggests that market change from  benchmarking policies and programs is underway and expected to grow. As more jurisdictions around the country recognize the value of benchmarking and use it to better understand and optimize their buildings’ energy use, they can leverage the Handbook to analyze the impact of their policies and programs.

China’s CO2 emissions have been plummeting lately. What’s going on?

Read the full post at Vox.

Arguably the most important climate story in the world right now is the question of what’s happening in China. A recent analysis by Greenpeace International found that China’s carbon dioxide emissions have plunged nearly 5 percent, year over year, in the first four months of 2015.

Climate Blogger Sued for $2 Million for “Tortious Interference with Contract” and “Conspiracy”

Read the full post in the Climate Law Blog.

In the newest variation of legal attacks on climate science, tandem lawsuits were filed against climate science blogger and computer scientist John Mashey,[1] in retaliation for his work to uncover academic misconduct by several researchers who disputed widely-accepted findings on global warming.  (There is a 97% scientific consensus that man-made climate change is happening.[2])  Two of these researchers, Edward Wegman and Yasmin Said, served Mashey with complaints this spring, claiming that Mashey’s work connecting them with plagiarism, falsifications, errors, and funding misuse[3] constituted “tortious interference with contract” and “conspiracy” — and claiming that because of this, he owed them millions of dollars in damages.

National Institute of Standards and Technology Releases Draft Community Resilience Guide for Public Feedback; Comments Due June 26, 2015

The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a draft guide to help communities plan for and act to keep windstorms, floods, earthquakes, sea-level rise, industrial mishaps and other hazards from inflicting disastrous consequences. Public feedback is requested on the draft Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure. The first version of the guide will be released this fall and updated periodically as new building standards and research results become available, and as communities gain experience using the guide and recommend improvements.

U.S. Global Change Research Program Seeks Public Input on National Climate Assessment Next Steps: Comments Due June 15, 2015

A Request for Information has been issued, seeking public input on steps for the next National Climate Assessment. Effectively managing the risks of climate change requires the best available scientific information, continually updated to address rapidly evolving national needs. Building on the momentum of the 2014 National Climate Assessment report, the U.S. Global Change Research Program is conducting a sustained assessment process that enhances the federal government’s ability to deliver timely, scientifically sound products in support of climate-related decisions across the country. This process also fosters collaboration among decision makers at the national, regional, tribal, and local levels. Through the process, scientists and stakeholders are working together to build the knowledge base and capacity needed to effectively integrate new scientific knowledge into on-the-ground responses.

Climate Change Adaptation in United States Federal Natural Resource Science and Management Agencies: A Synthesis

Download the document.

This report, organized under the auspices of USGCRP’s Adaptation Science Interagency Working Group, is a snapshot in time (2013-2014) of the status of climate change adaptation in Federal agencies that study and manage land and water resources.