Help! Is Energy Star Benchmarking Required for My Buildings?

Over the last decade, cities and states have taken huge steps forward in holding their residents accountable for the energy efficiency of their commercial and residential buildings. Many cities have introduced annual competitions to reward the most sustainable buildings, and scores of building owners have taken action to reduce their energy consumption and utility bills.

Many cities now have official legislature requiring certain buildings to be benchmarked by Energy Star once a year. As each city develops its own standards, it can be confusing to figure out what the laws are governing your buildings and which of your buildings need to be benchmarked. Below, we’ve compiled the answers to questions about (1) whether your city or state has laws about benchmarking, (2) how you can prepare to be benchmarked, and (3) why benchmarking is beneficial to you, even if it is not required by law.



At the federal level, all federal agencies are mandated to lease and own buildings that have been benchmarked by Energy Star. Otherwise, the laws vary from city to city. You can click on the names of each city and state highlighted in blue below to see its specific compliance laws.


Compliance by State 

State Buildings Benchmarked     

Commercial Benchmarking Policy Adopted     

Residential Disclosure Adopted     

  1. Connecticut
  2. Ohio
  3. Michigan
  4. Alabama
  5. Minnesota
  6. Utah
  7. Hawaii
  1. California
  2. Washington
  1. Maine
  2. New York
  3. Kansas
  4. South Dakota
  5. Alaska



Compliance by City 

City Buildings Benchmarked     

Commercial Benchmarking Policy Adopted     

Residential Disclosure Adopted     

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Arlington, VA
  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Austin, TX
  4. Minneapolis, MN
  5. Chicago, IL
  6. Washington, DC
  7. New York, NY
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. Boston, MA
  1. Santa Fe, NM
  2. Austin, TX
  3. Chicago, IL
  4. Montgomery County, MD



Step 1: Use the Energy Star Portfolio Manager to Create a Property Profile. Before your buildings are benchmarked, you will need to provide Energy Star with some information through its Portfolio Manager tool. You can use this checklist to know what information will be asked about your buildings.

Step 2: Generate a Summary Report. Once you have reported all of the necessary information about your buildings, you can log into Portfolio Manager and choose the “Reporting” tab to generate a report. Under “Action” select “I want to…” “Respond to a Data Request.” You will be given comprehensive instructions from your city’s custom reporting template. Finally, you will be able to select the specific buildings that you wish to report.

Step 3: Send Your Report. When your report is ready, go to the “Action” dropdown and select “Send Response” to “Confirm Response to Data Request.” Select who you would like to receive your building data, and when you are ready, hit Send!

For more details about how to respond to a data request see “How to Respond to Data Requests in Portfolio Manager.”

(Note: Alternately, Aquicore offers Energy Star integration that automatically compiles relevant data from the meters throughout your building and sends it with the click of a button.)



Buildings that consistently benchmark energy use save an average of 2.4 percent per year on their energy bills, according to Energy Star data. Even if energy benchmarking is not yet mandated in your city or state, it may still be worth going through the process for your buildings. Commercial buildings and industrial facilities make up about half of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and on average, these facilities waste 30% of their energy.

Most buildings can reduce their energy consumption by 10% with no capital investment. By benchmarking your buildings, you can quickly learn how they are performing compared to other similar buildings. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, gain transparency for your buildings’ energy use, or lower your utility bills, benchmarking is the place to start.

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