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What is Benchmarking?

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About Benchmarking

Energy benchmarking means tracking a building’s energy and water use and using a standard metric to compare the building’s performance against past performance and to its peers nationwide. These comparisons have been shown to drive energy efficiency upgrades and increase occupancy rates and property values.

The Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 (CAEA) requires that owners of all large private buildings (over 50,000 gross square feet) annually benchmark their energy and water efficiency and report the results to DOEE for public disclosure. The District government also must annually benchmark and disclose the energy and water efficiency of District government buildings over 10,000 gross square feet. Starting with the calendar year 2021 data (due April 1, 2022) all privately-owned buildings over 25,000 square feet will be required to benchmark, and starting with the calendar year 2024 data (due April 1, 2025) all privately-owned buildings over 10,000 square feet will be required to benchmark, as mandated under the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018.

Building Size Reporting Requirement Begins
50,000+ ft2 2014 (with 2013 data)
25,000-49,999 ft2 2022 (with 2021 data)
10,000-24,999 ft2 2025 (with 2024 data)

Under these mandates, building owners are required to track the energy and water usage for their building(s) using the US EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager and report that data to DOEE on an annual basis. The annual reporting deadline is April 1st of each year for the previous calendar year’s energy and water consumption. You can download these results on our disclosure page.

The Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act also established the Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS). The BEPS is a minimum threshold of energy performance that will be no lower than the local median ENERGY STAR score by property type (or equivalent metric). DOEE will establish the first set of standards by January 1, 2021. Standards will then be set every 6 years, creating BEPS periods (BEPS 1, BEPS 2, etc.). These requirements build upon the success of the District’s Energy Benchmarking program, so if you are mandated to benchmark, the BEPS program applies to your building. To learn more about the new BEPS requirements, please visit the BEPS webpage.

About ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

DOEE uses the U.S. EPA’s free, industry-standard ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager tool as the standard software for benchmarking and reporting. Portfolio Manager is a free, secure, web-based benchmarking tool developed and maintained by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The program calculates a 1-100 performance score for 21 different building types using a building’s energy use, water use, and characteristics (e.g. size, type(s) of use, number of occupants, etc.). This score allows building owners to evaluate their building’s performance based on scores of similar buildings nationwide. Read more about Portfolio Manager at energystar.gov/benchmark.

EPA offers regular live and pre-recorded webinars that demonstrate how to navigate ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and how to use all core functionalities needed to properly benchmark a building.

Portfolio Manager also manages a comprehensive FAQs page that covers a wide range of topics related to energy benchmarking and reporting.

If it is your first time using Portfolio Manager, visit their website and create an account to start benchmarking your property(ies).

Regulations/Rulemaking

On January 18, 2013, the District Department of the Environment published the final rulemaking for energy benchmarking of private buildings in the D.C. Register (60 DCR 367). You can download the rules and all associated guidance documents below.