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US Building Compliance Overview

Commercial buildings are the largest source of carbon emissions in most US cities. Chicago, for example, estimates the energy used by buildings accounts for 70% of its carbon emissions. New York says it’s nearly 80%. Regulators are paying attention…

As of January 2015, building energy and water disclosure requirements impact more than 51,000 properties across the US. That’s over 5.8 billion square feet of commercial floorspace. With new regulations accelerating and existing rules being expanded, the number of buildings exposed may skyrocket.


The D.C. Department of Energy and the Environment (formerly the Department of the Environment) issued 450 notices of building compliance violations to commercial property owners, which could carry fines of $100 dollars per day. Since around 30% of D.C. buildings failed to report energy and water usage data by the deadline, that really starts to add up. Now, lets add up the potential impact…

According to the The Institute for Market Innovation (IMT) there are 4,600 buildings impacted by compliance regulations in the D.C. metro area. The publicly distributed list of buildings in violation of regulation was 450, or roughly 10% of all regulated buildings. Assuming the same non-compliance rates across the US, we can expect around 5,000 buildings to fall afoul of the law. Applying the same $100 daily fine from DC, means as much as $500,000 per day could be levied. That’s a staggering $182,000,000 annually… Building owners beware!