2019 benchmarking: New and updated ordinances

Energy Management Industry News Sustainability Reporting
  • January 16, 2019
  • Margaret McPhillips

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2019 benchmarking: New and updated ordinances

New & updated 2019 benchmarking ordinances

As of 2019, there are more than 25 benchmarking ordinances in effect across North America. A few of these ordinances were newly introduced for the 2019 benchmarking season, and several of the ordinances have expanded their compliance criteria to cover additional building types or larger ranges of building sizes compared to the previous year.

Utility benchmarking ordinances are a tool for cities, states, and provinces to help reach environmental goals such as reduced utility use and lower greenhouse gas emission levels. They also help building owners and managers understand their buildings’ consumption and allow them to compare their performance against that of similar properties. Benchmarking compliance requires building owners to report their annual energy and, in some cases, water consumption using the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.

As was mentioned in a previous post and an informational webinar, the EPA updated the ENERGY STAR scoring metrics in August 2018. Many buildings experienced drops in scores due to the national building stock becoming more energy efficient in recent years. The update is part of the EPA’s initiative to ensure that the dataset and scoring metrics reflect current market performance. The EPA is currently evaluating the initial results of the scoring update and, at the time of this writing, indicated that the review and any applicable changes to their model will be complete before 2019 benchmarking deadlines.

Please note: with the end of the government shutdown, the ENERGY STAR platform is once again available for use. However, the duration of the shutdown caused some changes to benchmarking deadlines to be implemented. Seattle, Washington’s benchmarking compliance deadline has been pushed back to July 1st, 2019. We will continue to monitor for any other updates that may occur and keep you updated.

2019 Benchmarking – New Ordinances

Salt Lake City, Utah

In August 2017, Salt Lake City’s City Council passed the Benchmarking and Transparency Ordinance as part of the Elevate Buildings initiative. Starting in 2019, the ordinance requires commercial buildings over 50,000 feet to report energy use to the city by May 1st, 2019; commercial buildings over 25,000 feet be required to comply with the ordinance starting in 2020. Municipal buildings are also required to benchmark.

Portland, Maine

In November 2016, the City Council of Portland, Maine enacted the Energy Benchmarking Ordinance that requires commercial properties over 20,000 feet to report their annual energy and water consumption to the Sustainability Office. The ordinance also required the Sustainability Office to disclose the information on the city website. The deadline for commercial and multi-family buildings to submit their data has not yet been confirmed; the deadline for municipal properties to submit their 2019 energy and water data is May 1st, 2019.

2019 Benchmarking – Updated Ordinances

Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta Commercial Energy Efficiency Ordinance was approved in April 2015. The ordinance requires buildings over 25,000 sqft. to report energy and water use each year on June 1st. This year, multifamily buildings are required to comply due to Georgia Power offering a new data aggregation tool. Previously, multifamily buildings without electricity master meters could voluntary comply with the ordinance in 2018.

Evanston, Illinois

Evanston’s City Council approved the Evanston Building Energy and Water Use ordinance in 2016. The first year of compliance was 2017 with buildings 100,000 square feet or larger required to submit energy and water data. In 2018 the square footage requirement expanded to include buildings 50,000 square feet or greater to report. This year, buildings over 20,000 square feet (excluding condos) will need to comply with the ordinance.

Los Angeles, California

The city of Los Angeles’s benchmarking ordinance came into effect in 2017, requiring buildings over 100,000 sqft. to comply; in 2018 the threshold for square footage was reduced to 50,000 sqft. Starting in 2019, buildings over 20,000 sqft. will need to report their energy and water use.

Ontario, Canada

In 2017, Ontario Canada established the Reporting of Energy Consumption and Water Use regulation for large building to submit their energy and water use. 2018 was the first year of compliance for commercial and industrial buildings over 250,000 ft2. This year, the square footage threshold is reduced to 100,000 ft2 and includes multifamily buildings. The annual deadline is July 1st

State of California

In 2015, California’s Assembly Bill 802 was passed and required the California Energy Commission to create a statewide energy benchmarking and disclosure program for buildings over 50,000 ft2. Energy use and building information are required to be submitted each year by June 1st. 2018 was the first year of compliance for buildings greater than 50,000 ft2 with zero active residential accounts. New in 2019 is the addition of buildings containing 17 or more active residential utility accounts of each energy type at the building.

Benchmark with the best of them

Need to comply with a 2019 benchmarking ordinance? Streamline your submissions with our best practice guide for simplified benchmarking, reporting, compliance, and transparency.


Margaret McPhillips

Margaret joined Goby in August 2017 as an Energy Analyst. In her role, Margaret supports clients' efforts to earn ENERGY STAR certifications & awards and helps ensure compliance with utility benchmarking ordinances.

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