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 both locally and nationwide. These comparisons have been shown to drive energy efficiency upgrades and increase occupancy rates and property values.
The DC Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) published the final Benchmarking rules on October 22, 2021.
What is energy benchmarking?
Energy benchmarking is a valuable process for both building owners and occupants to better understand and quantify how their buildings are using resources such as energy and water. It can be used to compare energy and cost performance year-over-year, compare to similar buildings, and to better identify when a property is underperforming.
Each year, the District of Columbia collects and publishes detailed energy and water performance data from the largest buildings in the city. Additionally, the District’s Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) use energy benchmarking data as a baseline and establish minimum energy performance thresholds. Benchmarking is essential in identifying the level of action potentially required under BEPS.
Reviewing your benchmarking data, after ensuring its accuracy, will allow you to understand where there is opportunity to improve performance.
Who is required to do this?
Starting in 2013, owners of privately-owned buildings larger than 50,000 sq. ft. have been annually benchmarking their energy and water efficiency and report the results to DOEE for public disclosure.
Starting in 2021, owners of privately-owned buildings larger than 25,000 sq. ft. are required to annually benchmark their performance and report it to DOEE by April 1, 2022. Even though this year isn’t over, you can still start the process to get ahead of the reporting deadline [see below for step-by-step guidance how to start this process]. This is an on-going, annual requirement for your building.
Starting in 2024, owners of privately-owned buildings larger than 10,000 sq. ft. are required to annually benchmark their performance and report it to DOEE by April 1, 2025.
How do you do this?
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.
What is the process?
Step 1. Create an account (or use an existing account) through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and set up the property in Portfolio Manager.
Step 2. Identify the data necessary for benchmarking including Property Information (primary use, square footage, year built) and Property Use Details (which depends on property type).
Step 3. Identify your DC Real Property Unique ID, which is usually your SSL/SSR
Step 4. Collect the necessary data including
- 12 months of base building energy data from Pepco (electricity) and Washington Gas (natural gas)
- Data from sub-metered, non-residential tenants
- Data from sub-metered residential tenants by using the utilities’ aggregated data tools
- Water data from DC Water
Step 5. Enroll in DOEE’s Automatic Annual Reporting to assist in the reporting and compliance process.
What resources are available?
Be sure to check out the many resources available on the Building Innovation Hub’s website, from DOEE, and from the U.S. EPA.
- ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager offers multiple webinars and recorded videos that cover the basics of how to benchmark a building and use the Portfolio Manager tool. We recommend Portfolio Manager 101 for buildings that are benchmarking for the first time.
- DOEE has a number of helpful resources and DC-specific FAQs on their website.
- View the recorded webinars that go over how to submit your data to DOEE and how to benchmark multifamily buildings.
- Understand common errors In DC energy benchmarking to avoid mistakes in measuring your building’s energy performance.
- Review this guide to understand your energy benchmarking data and see where there is opportunity to improve your building’s performance.
Additionally, you can watch our DC Benchmarking 101 Webinar recording: