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Brian Swett visits BSA Space, discusses Disclosure Ordinance

At a joint meeting of the BSA Legislative Affairs Committee and the Committee for the Advancement of Sustainability held on September 11, 2012, at BSA Space, Boston’s new chief of environment and energy, Brian Swett, was introduced to an enthusiastic audience by incoming Legislative Affairs Committee co-chair Elise Woodward AIA, LEED AP.

Until recently a project manager for Boston Properties, Swett accepted this cabinet position in Mayor Thomas Menino’s administration following the recent departure of Jim Hunt earlier this year. Swett’s extensive experience in both the public and private sectors prior to Boston Properties includes a stint at the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Center for Environmental Innovation, where he initiated a program devoted to learning from international best practices in environmental policy for domestic adaptation and application.

Swett provided the BSA audience a glimpse of the proposed new Energy and Water Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance, expected to be implemented in the City of Boston within the next few months. The ordinance will initially apply to nonresidential buildings over 50,000 gross square feet, extending to residential buildings with more than 40 units in 2015. Reporting will take place by means of the Energy Star Portfolio Manager program, with the goal of providing “information to owners, residents, and prospective buyers and tenants, and, through education and the operations of the market, create incentives to participate in energy-efficiency programs.” Water-use disclosure is included in the ordinance, as water delivery and treatment is a principle source of energy consumption. The Disclosure Ordinance is seen as a key component of the city’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Boston follows New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco and other cities around the country in adopting energy reporting and disclosure requirements.

Swett’s presentation was followed by a spirited question-and-answer session during which BSA members expressed their appreciation and support for the ordinance and for Swett, whose work at Boston Properties included project management at Atlantic Wharf, the BSA’s new home. A reception with refreshments allowed further interchange among attendees.

The Legislative Affairs Committee and the Committee for the Advancement of Sustainability will be meeting at BSA Space for a second joint session October 23 at 8:30 am to discuss opportunities to support the Disclosure Ordinance, as well as other policy items of common interest. All interested should request to receive meeting announcements from the BSA for one or both committees.

A. Vernon Woodworth AIA, LEED AP is co-chair of the BSA Committee for the Advancement of Sustainability.

Top image: Brian Swett is sworn in by Governor Patrick as Boston's new chief of environment and energy. Photo courtesy of MWRA. Find more images on Flickr.