Atlanta phases in new energy policy

City of Atlanta to phase in energy policy

ATLANTA -- City leaders say a new policy passed by the council is already saving them money. It requires buildings in the city to record and report energy usage and look for ways to cut.

Checking in the Hyatt Regency you may not realize the hotel has found ways to save millions.

"The guest experience doesn't change at all: LED lighting, low-flow toilets, low-flow shower heads, the technology is such now that you don't notice a difference," said Walter Woods, marketing director of Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Woods says they've cut power usage by 30 percent and water consumption by 50 percent each year. That's what the city of Atlanta would like to see other building as well.

Atlanta Building Energy Efficiency Project Manager Matt Cox says commercial buildings make up 66 percent of the energy used in Atlanta -- making them the biggest source of consumption and the largest producer of emissions.

But that could change with the city's new energy policy.

It will apply to more than 2,350 buildings. They'll have to annually report their energy use to the city, and use that information for an energy audit every 10 years to look for ways to improve. The data will be made public.

"We are taking this as a way that we can lead by example," Cox said. "So we've got 100 buildings that we've already been through the benchmarking process for and we saw $300,000 in energy savings back to the City of Atlanta last year through those processes alone."

Brandy Mitcham with the Building Operators and Managers Association says the group worked with the city on crafting the policy. She says some are already using efficiency measures, but they hope to work with the city on ways to continue that trend so it doesn't create too much of a financial burden.

"If we can have a productive conversation about how to help property owners overcome that, then we can not only meet the cost of compliance, but go above and beyond in making the recommended improvements," Mitcham said.

Still, Woods at the Hyatt say these changes are what customers expect.

"It's a win-win for us because we get to make the guest experience great and reduce our impact and it's good for business as well, it saves us a lot of money," Woods said.

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