So far, about 19 percent, or 400, of Philly’s more than 2,000 large buildings have reported their energy usage and water consumption to the city, complying with a new law the city implemented this July.
The law requires buildings with more than 50,000 square feet of indoor floor space to report their annual energy usage in hopes of using transparency to make businesses think more critically about their consumption. It’s part of the Nutter administration’s goal to make Philadelphia the “greenest” city in America.
The original deadline for buildings to file reports was yesterday, but it has been extended to Nov. 25 because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) free online tool that businesses were meant to use to report their usage went down during the government shutdown.
If businesses don’t file by Nov. 25, they’ll be fined $300 for the first 30 days and $100 per day after that. Though, it should be noted that, actually getting businesses to pay the fines is another process altogether.
When businesses report their usage, the EPA gives them a score from one to 100, rating their energy consumption. If businesses get a very low score, it’s on them to improve it — the city won’t take action, a spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability said.
The city will collect all the data and share a report after Nov. 25, said Alex Dews of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. Next year, it’ll share raw data, Dews said, adding that the idea is that business owners get a chance to adjust their usage before they’re “outed” as heavy energy consumers.