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Your Guide to Building Energy Benchmarking

Updated: Aug 20, 2019

What You Need to Know in the DC/MD/VA Area

If you own a private non-residential building in the DC metro area, you've likely heard the phrase "energy benchmarking" come up in conversation.

Whether it's been mentioned surrounding topics like new state laws you have to face, Energy Star ratings and scores you must meet, or fines you may be susceptible to, we are here to break down the legal language, reporting information, and local utility incentives surrounding energy benchmarking for you.

Don't know where to start? Here's your guide:


1. Energy Benchmarking Explained:

What is Benchmarking?

Benchmarking compares a building’s annual energy consumption against a nationwide set of peer buildings using a standard metric, such as site-level consumption (i.e. electricity in kilowatt-hours (kWh), natural gas in therms or hundred cubic feet (ccf).

Why Benchmark?

Utilities are the largest non-fixed business expenditure. Benchmarking energy establishes a streamlined method for building owners and property managers to digest energy usage and identify opportunities that reduce costs.

Why Do States Care?

Growing demands, environmental weight (emissions, waste), quality of life (pollution impact), and limited resources have caused municipalities, state agencies, and consumers to address market transformation to drive forward-looking energy policies, while encouraging innovation, efficiency and resiliency.


2. Energy Benchmarking Requirements:

What Do I Need to Do?

This depends on what size building you own and where the building resides. Find your state below:

District of Columbia

  • READ: DC Interactive Climate and Energy Plan

  • APPLIES TO: Buildings over 50,000 sq. ft. now, but will be 25,000 sq. ft. starting in 2023 and 10,000 sq. ft. in 2026 (law amended from 50K last year).

  • ACTION: Benchmark your building’s energy use in Energy Star Portfolio Manager (or hire a company to do this for you). Water use disclosure also mandated. Validation required every three years.

  • Since implementation in 2006, there has been a 24% reduction to 8.03 million from 10.45 million metric tons of CO2e citywide – data pulled from 2015.




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3. Resources, Incentives, and Financing Options:

Maryland State Programs

The EmPOWER Maryland Low Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP) helps residents of low income households install energy conservation materials in their homes at no charge.

Utility Incentive Program Breakdown:

Financing Options for Energy Efficient Upgrades

National Scorecard on State and Local Policy Database

Just because it’s fun. If we are required to measure ourselves, we might as well know where we rank and why.

  • Review where your state falls and the reasons why

  • What’s your state giving back to you

  • Who’s running what – from networks to programs to administration

Regulation Information by State/County


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