Honolulu high-rises guzzle electricity. A new law is aimed at changing that

In a significant step to attack climate change and energy waste, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed Bill 22 into law Wednesday.
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 3:59 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 20, 2022 at 6:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a significant step to attack climate change, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed a measure into law Wednesday that’s aimed at making high-rises more accountable.

Under the Better Buildings Benchmarking program, buildings larger than 100,000-square feet will need to track and report their consumption of energy, water and gas starting next year.

“The fact of the matter is we don’t have options anymore,” Blangiardi said.

“Our fight against climate change issues, rising cost, affordability, all of these are very real. We live with each and every day. So we’re excited about being here (and) taking this kind of initiative.”

The concept behind the law is simple but the hope is that documenting energy use and carbon emissions will promote efforts to reduce costs and find clean alternatives.

Honolulu high-rises account for a third of Hawaiian Electric’s electricity output.

“We know that just this simple act of measuring can help you manage some of these costs and this bill will have many impacts for different stakeholders across the island,” said Nicola Hedge, deputy director for the City’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliency. “Whether it’s building owners, operators who again can look at their biggest expenses and how they can cut waste and save on costs.”

The city has already implemented this monitoring program at more than 70 of its own facilities and is aiming to install efficient measures estimated to save $3.5 million in yearly utility costs.

The hope is Bill 22 will also help the state reach the goal of net zero emissions by 2045.

“Today, we’re talking about electricity and carbon emissions from electricity,” said HECO president and CEO Shelee Kimura. “But in the future, we need to start talking about all the sources of carbon emissions including transportation, and that’s another effort we have. Buildings can have a big part in that as well.”

For more information on the rollout of this program, click here.

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