National Energy Benchmarking Mandates: What You Need to Know to Avoid Penalty in Your City

November 5, 2015 Written by  Comments Print

Washington, D.C. — As mandatory energy benchmarking and building energy policy are gaining momentum across the country, cities are using it to promote energy efficiency and drive more rebate and incentive programs. As many as 10 cities now require mandatory annual benchmarking for commercial buildings and set penalties (as much as $100/day) for non-compliance.

greeNEWit, an energy analysis and sustainability consulting firm based in Columbia, Maryland, offers support tracking, analyzing and reporting the new data mandate to ensure compliance and avoid penalties for multifamily and commercial buildings nationwide. greeNEWit has extensive experience with utility data reporting—having trained Pepco Holdings Inc. on the behavior of energy and sustainable technologies for the last five consecutive years.

Currently, there are ordinances in the following cities: Austin, Texas; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Chicago; Minneapolis; New York City; Boston; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Seattle and Washington, D.C. In addition, the states of California and Washington have enacted similar mandates. HERE is a complete list of cities that have enacted benchmarking laws.

The ordinances require certain building owners to monitor, report and disclose energy and water usage data for their properties. Energy benchmarking ordinances differ from one city to another but they contain several common elements: reporting requirements, building type and size thresholds, disclosure requirements and additional requirements such as mandatory audits and efficiency upgrades.

While the new requirement does create what some view as an administrative burden and costly penalty for non-compliance, these cities maintain that accurate benchmarking data is essential for reducing energy and water consumption.

Michael Santiago, BPI Certified Director of Multifamily Energy Solutions for greeNEWit, emphasizes the opportunity within these new requirements for commercial building owners. “ We understand that energy benchmarking can be viewed as complicated and strenuous, but access to benchmarking information allows building owners and managers to re-evaluate their property's energy use and identify areas they can boost NOI. Our goal is to eliminate the administrative burden of compliance, so our clients can focus less on tracking down utility bills and more on ways to reduce them."

This ideology is why greeNEWit includes a capital improvement assessment in their compliance offering to identify upcoming opportunities to improve their client’s energy profile and pair them with incentives and subsidized programs in their region.

As of September of 2015, Washington D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland already started fining $100 a day to buildings who did not submit the required calendar year 2014 benchmarking data. While this fine can vary across cities, they are consistently steep.

If you are the owner of a commercial, multifamily or public building in a city affected by these mandates, email Michael Santiago at to see what requirements apply and avoid future fines.

About greeNEWit

greeNEWit is the national leader in sustainable community development and smart grid integration. The firm develops, manages, and implements net-zero trajectory assets to help make communities more resilient, sustainable, and economically prosperous. By working with residential, multifamily, and commercial real estate, greeNEWit has an expansive perspective on how end energy consumers understand, interact, and engage with their energy profile. With clients that include some of the most successful developers and managers of student, military, and multifamily housing, greeNEWit is a tech-enabled service business in the growing clean-tech space. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, greeNEWit is expanding nationwide.

Find out more by visiting our website or calling 866-994-7639. For more greeNEWit press releases, click here.