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Portland's Biggest Commercial Buildings Will Have To Report Energy Use

PSU Student Housing
Rob Manning
PSU Student Housing

Managers of Portland's largest commercial buildings will start tracking their energy use under a new city policy approved Wednesday.

Portland is joining 12 cities that already use the Energy Star reporting system, run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Participating buildings have cut energy use by an average of more than 2 percent, just by monitoring and reporting, according to Alisa Kane with Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

"It is that just awareness of how your building is doing that is really important to energy use," said Kane. "We liken it to a miles-per-gallon reflection, or now with all the fitness tracking accessories you can wear on your body, it tells you 'how many steps have you taken today?' and you start paying attention."

The requirement to track energy use affects hotels, malls like the Lloyd Center, hospitals, and office buildings. The city is in conversations with federal officials about including government facilities such as the Portland Veterans Administration hospital.

City officials plan to publish annual reports detailing buildings' energy use.

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Rob Manning is a news editor at Oregon Public Broadcasting, with oversight of reporters covering education, healthcare and business. Rob became an editor in 2019, following about 15 years covering schools and universities in Oregon and southwest Washington as OPB’s education reporter.