Benchmarking

If you have a commercial building in Washington, DC or Montgomery County, MD that is over 50,000 sq ft, chances are that you are required by law to benchmark your property’s energy consumption and disclose the results to the city/county.
— For those outside of the DC Region, check with your local agencies to ensure compliance.

What is Benchmarking?

With many states and local municipalities now requiring some form of Energy Benchmarking for commercial buildings and many larger corporate companies creating their own standards for normalized comparison, one of the most common questions we get is "What is the real meaning of 'Benchmarking'?"

Simply put (as it relates to building energy cost and consumption): building energy benchmarking is the process of comparing a building to its own history and to that of other similar buildings, usually normalized using various factors.

Am I Required to Benchmark?

It depends. Most companies have realized that benchmarking is key to gauging performance, setting objectives, and quantifying results within a portfolio. As a result, many have started their own internal benchmarking programs for not just building energy consumption but also other performance indicators and metrics which are key to their unique business. 

If you own or manage a commercial building in Washington, DC or Montgomery County, MD that is over 50,000 sq ft, chances are that you fall under their respective energy benchmarking disclosure requirements (including multifamily properties in the District). In both municipalities, building owners are required by law to benchmark their buildings' energy consumption using Energy Star Portfolio Manager, then submit the information to the city/county's respective Department of the Environment (DOEE / DEP) using their online tools. In Montgomery County, however, an additional step of data verification by a certified professional is required in order to validate that the information being submitted is as accurate and actionable as possible.

Each municipality publishes a list of potentially covered buildings. Below are links to those for 2017 reporting (of 2016 Data):

 The  Institute for Market Transformation  is a great resource if you are outside of the Washington-Baltimore Region and wondering if you are impacted.

The Institute for Market Transformation is a great resource if you are outside of the Washington-Baltimore Region and wondering if you are impacted.

If you have not yet taken care of the benchmarking disclosure for your property, would like to take a more actionable approach to assessing your facility, or just want to eliminate the need to manually enter and submit the data year after year, our fully-automated online utility dashboard or—for those looking to take their building energy strategy to the next level—Actionable Building Consulting platform may be good options for your business.

Required Building Size by Locality

The above graph shows Minimum Required Building Size for each Reported Data Year by locality. Example: For the 2015 data year, all commercial buildings greater than 250,000 sq ft in Montgomery County and 50,000 sq ft in the District were required to report. Please note that all Data is required to be submitted by April 1 of the following year in DC and June 1 in Montgomery County.