December 15, 2023 | Cliff Majersik, Julia Eagles

Utility data access may sound dull, but it unlocks building energy upgrades, which benefit people by making our homes and buildings healthier and more resilient. Here are five reasons why utility access is so important.

A strip of images with numbers overlay; includes picture of money, of solar panels, of calculator next to home meter, utility grid system, and people with construction jobs.
  1. Building owners will miss out on billions in funding without it. The Inflation Reduction Act and other new federal laws offer expansive tax incentives, rebates, and grants for saving energy in commercial and residential buildings, but only if you can access whole-building utility data to measure it.
  2. It enables better targeting of energy improvement measures. Building owners and managers flying blind without knowing their true energy consumption will waste money on poorly targeted upgrades. Data illuminates the best opportunities.
  3. Tenants and residents benefit through lower utility bills. Owners passing efficiency savings along to tenants keep utility costs in check as other expenses rise; happier tenants stay longer.
  4. Utility customer engagement and grid planning improves. Access to whole-building data allows utilities to better understand usage patterns and growth across their service territory, to better target efficiency programs and consider buildings’ role in their distribution system planning.
  5. It unlocks new clean energy jobs and services. From energy auditors to insulation contractors, data transparency creates economic ripples supporting local jobs and small businesses. And, it allows new energy analytics services to take root.

Utility Transparency Necessary for Building Performance Solutions

In most states, the vast majority of landlords still lack access to whole-building energy usage across their properties. So IMT and the Regulatory Assistance Project—with technical assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR team—developed a model law to address this issue. The law facilitates a path for utility companies to provide building owners, owner’s agents, authorized service providers, and building operators with digital access to aggregated, whole-building energy and water consumption data to facilitate building performance improvements.

There are three different version of the model law for use by states:

Two of the three versions of the model law do not include water because access to whole building water consumption data is less often a problem because unlike energy, most buildings are master metered for water and so the owner already has access to whole-building water consumption data.

Data access removes roadblocks to efficiency projects that benefit building owners, tenants, utilities, and local economies. It’s time states step up to provide owners what they need to start saving.

For technical assistance in adapting the model law for enactment in your state, contact Cliff Majersik or Julia Eagles at IMT or Camille Kadoch or Dave Farnsworth at RAP.

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Meet the Authors

Associate Director of Utility & Regulatory Strategy

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