- Helps building owners track energy performance, control costs, and identify options to improve efficiency.
- Drives existing building investment.
- Supports the City’s Energy Action Plan goal to reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions 75% by 2035.
- Benchmarking takes an average of a few hours annually.
- The City’s chosen a free reporting tool, the web-based ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is the nationally-preferred tool to measure and track building energy and water use.
- Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy allow customers' consumption data to be automatically uploaded into Portfolio Manager.
- The City will provide access to trainings and a help desk for entering data and understanding a building’s score.
What is being proposed?
Large Building Benchmarking requires annual whole-building energy tracking for large commercial, multifamily, and public buildings. In addition, the program requires results to be made publicly transparent beginning one year following the initial disclosure date.
What are the benefits?
What buildings are included?
The proposed benchmarking program would apply to between 150 and 300 buildings depending on the minimum size threshold adopted (100,000 or 75,000 square feet respectively). Large commercial, public, and multifamily buildings are included but industrial buildings are not. Multifamily is defined as multi-unit residential buildings including condominium, apartments, and senior residences. City Council will be determining the size threshold based upon factors such as program budget.
What is the proposed reporting timeline?
Building owners and managers would benchmark their building for the previous calendar year and submit data to the City using the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager by June 1st each year, a date which is consistent with surrounding cities. Data would be submitted in up to two groups. See chart for details.
Data quality is to be verified through operational processes.
Two Proposed Size Threshold Options for Council Consideration
Minimum threshold size
75,000-99,999 sq. ft.
100,000+ sq. ft.
Approximant Number of Buildings
First Benchmarking Year
First Disclosure Year
Where will data be shown?
In year two of the benchmarking requirement for each group, individual building benchmarking data would be made publicly accessible through the City’s website by Aug. 30th each year. As a result, the first group’s data would be published in 2023 and the second group would follow in 2024. Published data would include high-level building characteristics and performance data.
In addition, an annual report would be required providing citywide summary statistics on compliance and building energy performance.
What is the proposed enforcement?
The focus of the program will be on benchmarking education, and there will be no enforcement for each group's first year. Starting in year two, civil penalties will be an enforcement option. These will be considered after reminders are given. Enforcement details will be outlined in the final ordinance.
How much time, money, and effort will it take?
Do other cities do this?
Over 30 cities are showing that the building market thrives on information. Total building energy use in cities with benchmarking policies on average drops 1-3 percent annually. In Minnesota, the City of Minneapolis’ commercial benchmarking policy has recorded over 400 buildings since 2013 and recently expanded to include multifamily buildings, while Edina, St. Louis Park, and Saint Paul are currently in year two implementing their policies.