Creating Win-Win Partnerships Between Cities and Utilities

By on March 8, 2019

From Institute for Market Transformation:  As part of the City Energy Project, IMT released two guides for cities and utilities that offer information about how to partner effectively to drive deeper energy efficiency.

Engage with Utilities to Implement Energy Performance Policies offers practical advice and a checklist to local governments that are exploring building performance policies like benchmarking and transparency. Engage with Utilities will help cities proactively work with their utilities to ensure high compliance and promote participation in other energy efficiency programs.

How Utilities Can Support Cities as Their Customers uses lessons learned from City Energy Project and other efforts to provide practical advice to utilities, with a focus on key accounts representatives, on how to understand city energy goals and provide corresponding excellent customer service that helps the city and utility mutually achieve deeper energy efficiency. This post highlights one of City Energy Project’s excellent examples of partnership between cities and utilities, which is referenced in these guides.

St. Louis, Missouri is not only the “Gateway to the West,” it’s also the site of a growing city-utility partnership to make buildings more efficient. The City of St. Louis and the Missouri Gateway Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC-MGC) are working in concert with Ameren Missouri, an electric utility, and Spire Inc., a natural gas utility, to promote the city’s Building Energy Awareness Ordinance. Together, these entities are showing how communicating about shared goals and coordinating complementary strengths can lead to deeper efficiency.

The ordinance, which was passed in 2017, requires privately and municipally owned buildings over 50,000 square feet to benchmark using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and disclose their annual energy and water consumption. In order to comply with the ordinance, St. Louis building owners need to request the energy usage of their buildings. A growing number of leading utilities—such as Commonwealth Edison in Illinois and Xcel Energy in Denver and Minneapolis—allow building owners to obtain total energy usage where there is a threshold number of tenants, saving owners time while increasing the accuracy of the data they receive. Ameren Missouri is one of the most recent utilities to adopt this practice to aid building owners to become more efficient.

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