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Commercial Building Benchmarking Policies

Learn about some state and local governments that are enacting benchmarking policies that require both public and private buildings in their jurisdictions to report building-level energy consumption data annually.


California passed Assembly Bill 802 in October 2015, which requires the California Energy Commission to adopt regulations providing for public transparency of benchmarking energy use data for commercial and multifamily buildings greater than 50,000 square feet. Buildings owned by the state and local jurisdiction are not covered by the bill.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago passed the Building Energy Use Benchmarking Ordinance (No. SO2013-1645) in 2013. The ordinance requires all commercial, residential, and government buildings over 50,000 square feet to annually evaluate energy performance using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. In total, the law covers over 900 million square feet of real estate—the second-largest total of all American cities with comparable laws.

Kansas City, Missouri

In June 2015, the City Council in Kansas City, Missouri, adopted the Energy Empowerment Ordinance (No. 150299). The ordinance covers energy use in existing municipal buildings greater than 10,000 square feet and privately owned commercial and residential buildings larger than 50,000 square feet. The municipal buildings and large private buildings are required to be benchmarked annually and report the results to the city. The ordinance covers 3% of the city's non-single-family buildings, accounting for 47% of the energy used by buildings in Kansas City.

Montgomery County, Maryland

Montgomery County, Maryland, a suburban county bordering Washington, D.C., with a population over 1 million, was the first county in the nation to pass an energy benchmarking law. In 2014, the County Council passed Bill 2-14. The bill requires that all county-owned, nonresidential facilities and private nonresidential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet benchmark energy use on an annual basis.

South Portland, Maine

South Portland, Maine, passed its Energy and Water Use Performance Benchmarking ordinance (Article XVII: page 359) on January 4, 2017. The ordinance applies to municipal and commercial buildings greater than 5,000 square feet and multifamily buildings with 10 or more dwelling units in the Mill Creek area of South Portland. The ordinance requires covered buildings to annually benchmark and report their energy and water use to the municipality.