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San Jose BPO

San Jose Energy and Water Building Performance Ordinance (BPO)

The City of San Jose recently adopted its own BPO, an ordinance which requires you to report a building's Energy and Water Performance to the City in lieu of reporting to the California Energy Commission (CEC).  The City will forward your Energy and Water Benchmark Report to the CEC.  However, the City's reporting requirements exceed those of the CEC.  The differences are:

1. BPO requires both energy AND water benchmarking

2. BPO includes commercial and multifamily buildings 20,000 square feet and over

3. The BPO reporting deadline is May 1st annually:

   - May 1st, 2019 for all commercial and multifamily buildings 50,000 square feet and over

   - May 1st, 2020 for commercial and multifamily buildings 20,000 to 50,000 square feet

4. Every five years, BPO requires buildings to meet performance standards or complete one of three potential improvement pathway actions to help improve energy/water efficiency performance

The City will publish a subset of summary data to support market transparency and recognized high performing buildings across San Jose.

Why Benchmark?

Buildings are the second largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in San Jose, and "benchmarking" is a good first step to make buildings more efficient.  By tracking energy and water use over time, building owners can gain a better understanding of their baseline energy use and their building rank among other similar-use buildings.  And, be able to compare building metrics across similar building types and to increase the value of their properties through improved NOI from better efficiency. 

How to Comply

To comply with BPO you must use the EPA's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, online system to benchmark your building's energy and water usage.  Hundreds of thousands of properties use this tool to measure, track, assess, compare and report on their energy and water consumption.  This allows building owners to compare their buildings against the national sample of similar buildings.

The EPA's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free tool available to everyone.  Unfortunately it is not very user-friendly in this era of ease-to-use online services. Some cities have prepared user manuals to help users navigate the system, but these run over 50 pages and the process remains very time consuming.  Many building managers choose to use a specialized benchmarking service like Pegasus to enter the data, interface with the utilities to obtain energy and water usage, and then submit the report online to comply with the ordinance.

Exceptions and Exemptions

The ordinance does not apply to single-family, two-family and four-plex Residential Buildings, nor to residential hotels, utility pumping stations and treatment facilities.

A property with a land use zoning designation that is exclusively industrial is excluded.

Exemptions from benchmarking include:

1. The property did not have a certificate of occupancy during the reporting period

2. The entire property was not occupied, due to renovation, during the entire calendar reporting period

3. The demolition permit for the entire property  has been issued and demolition work has commenced on or before the date the report is due for that calendar year

4. The Property did not receive energy or water services for the entire calendar year required to be benchmarked

5. The Property is in financial distress

6. The disclosure of the Property's energy and water use data would result in the release of proprietary data that would violate a customer's right to privacy

For details of the ordinance, visit: the City of San Jose BPO site.