To spur commercial building owners to invest in energy
efficiency, Philadelphia City Council passed a mandatory energy and
water disclosure ordinance on June 21, 2012.
Originally introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown,
the ordinance requires owners of commercial buildings with indoor
floor space of 50,000 square feet or more (including mixed-use
buildings with 50,000 or more square feet of indoor commercial
floor space) to "benchmark" their buildings annually.
Benchmarking requires owners to input the energy and water use
of their buildings into the Environmental Protection Agency's
"Portfolio Manager" tool. Portfolio Manager uses the
inputted information to compare building resource use against
buildings of similar type, size and use, and generates a 1-100
score and a report.
Under the new ordinance, building owners would, upon
request, be required to provide the report to prospective tenants
and purchasers. The ordinance also delegates to Philadelphia's
Office of Sustainability the authority to develop a plan for
distributing the benchmarking information online.
The annual benchmarking must be done by June 30 every year.
However, the requirement does not go into effect until June
1, 2013, meaning that the first benchmarking deadline is June 30,
Noncompliance with the ordinance carries a $300 fine for the
first 30 days, and, for each day after the first 30 days, a fine of
$100 per day.
The original bill was amended to increase the applicable
building square footage from 25,000 to 50,000 square feet, and to
include provisions designed to safeguard privacy and sharing of
utility data. Philadelphia's Office of Sustainability has been
delegated the authority to convene stakeholder meetings and
implement regulations to address privacy issues.
Cities that have enacted similar disclosure laws, including New
York, Seattle, San Francisco and Austin, saw a 6 to 7 percent
decrease in energy use, as building owners saw the need to cut
costs and level the playing field with their competitors. They also
saw an increase in jobs related to energy benchmarking and
retrofits. Supporters of the bill expect Philadelphia to see
At the request of the US Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, a NERA team led by Senior Vice President Dr. W. David Montgomery and Senior Consultant Dr. Sugandha Tuladhar has conducted an objective and independent study to assess the potential macroeconomic impacts on the US economy of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.
IRS Notice 2013-29 provides two methods for taxpayers to establish that construction of a qualified facility has begun, either by starting physical work of a significant nature or satisfying a safe harbor.
Natural gas producers and landowners alike breathed a sigh of relief on April 24, 2013 as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (the "Supreme Court" or "Court") overturned a lower court decision that questioned whether subsurface ownership rights of natural gas in shale formations should be treated differently than ownership rights of natural gas in conventional formations.
As discussed previously on the blog, the IRS released Notice 2013-29 on April 15 which provided guidance on determining when construction has begun on a qualified renewable energy facility for purposes of the production tax credit.
A U.S. District Judge has denied a motion for summary judgment filed by oil and gas producer defendants, thus, enforcing the notion that an oil and gas producer can commit a trespass by engaging in hydraulic fracturing.