13 Jan Utility Benchmarking and Reporting Requirements for Buildings in New Jersey
On September 7, 2022, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) issued an order (Board Orders) sanctioning water and energy use benchmarking programs for commercial buildings which are more than 25,000 square feet. The deadline for the first benchmarking data submission is expected to fall on October 1, 2023, covering utility usage for the calendar year 2022.
In this, commercial building owners will be required to report the building’s energy and water usage of more than 25,000 square feet to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) in an attempt to spur energy efficiency.
This program is being created by the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) as needed by New Jersey’s Clean Energy Act of 2018 and is considered similar to other energy benchmarking programs which are already in place in other municipalities, and states including Philadelphia.
From the state’s Tax Assessment Database, the list of covered buildings will be constructed and hence, buildings owned by tax-exempt entities will not be covered. In this case, owners of the covered buildings should get a notification from the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) by July 1, 2023.
Usage of utility would be reported using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager online tool to analyze and measure their respective facilities’ energy and water usage. A number of exemptions may be available upon application, including buildings to be demolished, exemptions for new buildings (through the first year of operations), unoccupied buildings, and others.
The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) will be setting up procedures to get data from the energy and water utilities and, where needed, to obtain tenant consent. The data will eventually be reported to the public in a format to be determined, although, as per the BPU, the public reports will not be available for five years.
The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) currently, is holding meetings of stakeholders along with accepting public comments on the proposed program until January 30, 2023.
In specific, the program will allow building owners to get information on building-level energy and water from their utility companies so that the Board will set up a ‘help desk’ to help building owners as they analyze and measure their respective buildings’ energy and water performance.
Under Philadelphia’s existing benchmarking program, we have helped our various clients with exemption applications, preparation along with submittal of ENERGY STAR benchmarking reports.
Also, with this Board Order, by October 2023, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) anticipates developing the benchmarking regulations. Moreover, the NJBPU and the New Jersey Institute of Technology simultaneously will work together to create benchmarking certification programs to develop a pool of experts who have knowledge about the Portfolio Manager application and the benchmarking program to help building owners and operators.
The NJBPU will also organize an outreach and training program with operators and building owners, in an effort to use the Portfolio Manager program.