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Mayor’s memo: Energy disclosure ordinances will help City reach sustainability goals

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Bloomington Briefing Published January 31, 2022
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Updated on January 31, 2022
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By Mayor Tim Busse

The buildings in our community play a big role in the local greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change—the electricity and natural gas used to fuel our buildings are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the city. Bloomington’s Energy Action Plan outlines a goal of reducing these emissions by 75% by 2035. Last fall, the City Council took significant steps to meet this goal when they adopted these two energy disclosure ordinances.

One of the ordinances adopted in September focuses on large building benchmarking. This ordinance requires public, commercial and multifamily buildings that are larger than 75,000 square feet to benchmark and disclose high-level energy metrics on an annual basis. The City will implement these requirements in phases based on building size and type. Public buildings were the first to require benchmarking, with an initial reporting date of December 30, 2021. Commercial and multifamily buildings more than 100,000 square feet will follow, with an initial reporting date of June 1, 2022.

“Benchmarking helps building owners track energy performance, control costs and identify options to improve efficiency,” said Steve Flagg, Bloomington sustainability commissioner and founder of the Bloomington-based Quality Bicycle Products, which will be a participant in the benchmarking program.

The second ordinance the City Council adopted will help potential homebuyers know important things about a home’s energy efficiency before buying. The time-of-sale energy disclosure ordinance leverages the City’s existing time-of-sale inspection to gather and disclose information about a home’s energy assets.

Beginning on April 1, 2022, inspectors will collect energy metrics about a home’s heating and cooling system, water heater, wall and attic insulation, and windows before it is listed for sale. The City will summarize those metrics in an energy disclosure report and require sellers to display that report at open houses. Bloomington is the second city in the state to require energy disclosure at the time of sale.

Sharing information about a home’s energy assets helps potential buyers understand the energy cost of ownership. Energy disclosures also provide the City a way to identify and connect residents with resources to address inefficient homes.

Learn more about the City’s efforts around its Energy Action Plan at blm.mn/eap.