Skip to main content

Leading-by-Example Benchmarking Policies

Learn about some state and local governments who are leading by example, enacting policies that require benchmarking of publicly owned buildings, and other energy- and water-using infrastructure.

Denver, Colorado

In 2013, Denver, Colorado, passed Executive Order No. 123 that created the Denver Sustainability Office and requires all government buildings to benchmark their energy use using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. The executive order further requires all facilities to be brought up to and maintained at ENERGY STAR Certification levels. For more information, see Spotlight on Denver in Step 6 "Optimize the Organizational Structure."

Kitsap County, Washington

As part of their conditional grant agreement with Puget Sound Energy, Kitsap County, Washington, needed to develop a Resource Management Plan to fully account for, manage, and reduce resource use in county facilities and operations. The plan detailed staff responsibilities and identified internal sources of utility bills, further defining the process for data collection and tracking.[1]


The Maryland Department of General Services tracks and reports on energy reduction across all state government facilities in response to the State Buildings Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act of 2006 (SB267), which committed the Maryland state government to reduce energy consumption 5% by 2009 and 10% by 2010. Consistent with SB267, the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act of 2008 (HB 374) established a statewide goal of achieving a 15% reduction in per capita electricity consumption and peak demand by 2015. It also committed the government to lead by example and improve transparency. For more information, see Spotlight on Maryland in Step 6 "Optimize the Organizational Structure."

New York

In New York, Executive Order 88 mandates that "Affected State Entities" (as defined in Executive Order 88) measure the energy use in state-owned-and-managed buildings having an area greater than 20,000 square feet. Also, buildings that receive low benchmark scores shall undergo an ASHRAE Level II energy audit or any other comparable audit. Executive Order 88 designated the New York Power Authority to establish a central management and implementation team to administer the executive order including creating compliance guidelines, providing technical assistance, and collecting annual reporting of energy consumption by the Affected State Entities.


Oklahoma established the State Facilities Energy Conservation Program through SB 1096 in 2012. It directs all state agencies and higher education institutions to benchmark energy use in all state facilities using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and seek to obtain an ENERGY STAR rating for all eligible facilities. Furthermore, SB 1096 sets a target of cumulative energy reduction in state buildings of not less than 20% by the year 2020 from a 2012 Fiscal Year baseline.

Salt Lake City, Utah

In 2015, Salt Lake City, Utah, passed an executive order requiring the comprehensive energy management of Salt Lake City facilities. Under the comprehensive executive order, each department within the city is charged with developing and implementing a plan for its buildings, including performing periodic energy audits on facilities to identify energy savings opportunities, engaging in best practices in building operations, and equipment maintenance. The executive order also requires annual benchmarking of city facilities to track progress against each department's goals and for the city overall.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California, keeps individual departments focused on tracking energy use and reducing greenhouse gas emission through the use of annual department-level Climate Action Plans.[2]

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia, set a policy requiring electronic tracking of all utility bills for its portfolio of assets. Individual departments transitioned from manual processing of bills to a single data tracking and bill processing tool. This simplified data analysis for energy management and increased the overall efficiency of business operations across several offices. For more information, see Spotlight on Virginia Beach in Step 2 "Align with Organizational Goals."