Because there has been so much focus, time, and attention paid to California’s Mandatory Benchmarking Law (AB 1103), we want to provide a bit more context about a bill that is currently on the Governor’s Desk that will completely re-write the law.

AB 802 (Williams; D-Santa Barbara) does two things.  Firstly, it allows for “below code energy efficiency grants” to help existing building become more energy efficient through public programs, even if they are not brought up to the tough standards to current code.  The bill also re-writes the Mandatory Benchmarking Law (commonly referred to as the AB 1103 program).

As many of you know, the benchmarking law as written over six years ago can be cumbersome and expensive to undertake, especially in multi-tenant buildings where access to utility information may not be available to the building owner. The current program also uses the real estate transaction (sale/lease/finance) as the trigger for benchmarking, which causes lots of unanticipated problems and headaches for our industry, and is ultimately not a good trigger because some building may transact multiple times in a year while others may not transact for years at a time.

If AB 802 is signed into law, benchmarking would still be mandatory in California, however, the statute would be rewritten in a way that removes the statutory time-of-sale/lease triggers, sets a lower limit of 50K s.f. for buildings included in the mandate, and would give the Energy Commission more flexibility to come up with regulations across the different building types that make sense.  This bill will also make it easier for you to work with your tenant and local utility to get the information needed in a timely manner.

If the bill is signed, we, as an industry, must engage in the regulatory process to assure that the regs are written in a way that make sense, otherwise many of the issues we have with the current law could re-surface.  However, the base statute would make a lot more sense under AB 802 and we urge the Governor to sign the measure.

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