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Flore Marion PhD-BPD Proposal Presentation - MMCH 409

  • CMU School of Architecture - MMCH 409 (map)

TITLE: Impact of Benchmarking and Transparency Ordinances on stakeholder interactions and building energy efficiency

Flore Marion, PhD-BPD Candidate

Date: Monday, 17 December 2018
Time: 10:00am-12:00pm
Location: MMCH 409

Thesis Committee:

Prof. Erica Cochran-Hameen, PhD, LEED AP, Assoc AIA, NOMA — Committee Chair
Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University

Prof. Vivian Loftness, FAIA, LEED AP
University Professor, Paul Mellon Professor, Andrew Mellon Professor, School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University

Prof. Berangere Lartigue, PhD
Associate Professor, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France


In the past decade, US Cities have been taking an increasingly important role in addressing climate change. This commitment often takes the form of a climate action plan. These climate action plans vary in their level of details of implementation, however they all set aggressive targets for carbon emission reduction at the local level by 2030 or 2050, through changes in energy,  transportation, food and waste management. This research evaluates the effectiveness of benchmarking ordinances in 26 US cities and their ability to meet the recommendations the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) .

The urban building stock has an active role to play in preventing global warming as buildings use 40% of the US total energy and are responsible for the vast majority of carbon emissions, reaching 70% in New York City and  80% in Pittsburgh, PA (EIA 2012a) (City of New York 2018) (City of Pittsburgh 2018). Implementing building efficiency retrofit and design solutions is a major step to reduce carbon emissions and have a significant impact.

To evaluate the effectiveness of benchmarking and transparency ordinances, the research hypotheses that benchmarking ordinances increase communication among stakeholders, lead to more energy efficiency initiatives and programs, and facilitate reduced energy consumption in commercial buildings.

The methodology comprises of interviews with over 60 stakeholder groups including, federal agencies, local governments, non profits organizations, and utility companies;  the creation and the statistical analysis of a wholistic data set on local energy efficiency initiatives -including policies, voluntary programs, and networks-; and quantification of energy consumption changes that occurred after the establishment of benchmarking and transparency ordinances.

The findings of this research will establish quantified benefits that cities with existing benchmarking and transparency ordinances can utilize to justify their climate action plan. Additionally, it creates a roadmap for meeting climate action and energy efficiency goals for cities considering benchmarking and transparency ordinances.

Keywords: Energy benchmarking policies, ENERGYSTAR, Existing commercial buildings, Energy efficiency, Energy transparency, stakeholder engagement

The proposal is available for download at the following link.

Earlier Event: December 14
Final Reviews (MSCD) - Code Lab
Later Event: December 24
Holiday Break - University Closed