Energy use reporting

Description: Some cities are requiring building owners to publicly disclose the annual energy and water used in their buildings. New York City Local Law 84 initially required buildings larger than 50,000 sq. ft. to report this information. It later included buildings with over 25,000 sq. ft. Over a 5 year period, emissions declined by 14% in 4000+ monitored buildings.

San Francisco’s Existing Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance (Environment Code Chapter 20) requires that each non-residential building with at least 10,000 square feet of conditioned (heated or cooled) space and each residential building with at least 50,000 square feet of conditioned space must be benchmarked using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager annually. Each non-residential building specified above is also required to undergo an energy audit or retrocommissioning at least once every 5 years.

The intent of the Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance is to empower owners, managers, operators, and occupants with key information to control utility costs, and to let them know exactly how they will benefit from improving energy efficiency. The Annual Energy Benchmark Summary report is intended to encourage improvement in energy management, as well as sustained excellence.

The construction, operation, and demolition of buildings accounts for about half of San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions. Commercial, industrial, and municipal buildings account for 60% of building-sector emissions. The ordinance has contributed to a decrease in energy use in commercial buildings by over 7% between 2014 and 2018.

Goal: Energy Use Reporting: Increase awareness of energy use in buildings and gain actionable information to inform policies. Provide performance data to tenants and owners so that energy use and GHG emissions can be reduced.

Measurement: The Energy Star Annual Energy Benchmark report includes:
– Square footage
– Energy Use Intensity (kBtu/sqft)
– Performance Rating (1-100) provided by Energy Star Portfolio Manager
– Greenhouse gas emissions from energy usage

Time to Implement: Varies by city


Overview: San Francisco Existing Building Energy Performance Ordinance

San Francisco Dept of Environment, Existing Building Performance website

New York City Annual Energy Use Benchmarking Requirement

Additional Information:

Why benchmark energy use in buildings?

Why require energy audits?

Existing Buildings Performance Report (5 pages)

Energy Star Portfolio Manager – What is benchmarking?

Making New York City’s One Million Buildings Clean and Efficient

Seattle Building Energy Use Benchmarking

Contact Info:

San Francisco Department of the Environment
Email SF Environment
1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 355-3700

New York Mayor’s Office of Climate & Sustainability
253 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 100007
(212) 676-0754

Sectors(s) Buildings, Energy
State(s) , ,
Location(s) , ,
Date First Adopted 2009 (NY), 2010 (Seattle), 2011 (SF)
Last Updated November 10, 2021
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