Government Incentives for Energy Efficiency

DC Building Owners, NOW is Time to Increase Your Energy Star Score

Back in 2008, Washington, D.C.’s District Department of the Environment (DDOE) passed the Clean & Affordable Energy Act, mandating that specific buildings report their energy benchmarking data.

But even if you are a commercial building owner, you might not have been greatly affected by the decision. Up until 2013, you could avoid fines even when you didn’t comply. Until april this year, if your buildings were smaller than 100,000 Sf, you didn’t have to comply. But things have changed and are about to change even more.


For the last round of DC benchmarking in 2013, privately owned buildings of 200,000 square feet or greater were required to provide their benchmarking data.

However, this year over 1,480 buildings in DC will be required to disclose their benchmarking data, including private commercial and residential buildings over 50,000 square feet, and government buildings over 10,000 square feet which must report their annual energy and water use.



If benchmarking data for required buildings is not submitted by the final deadline, The District can fine building owners up to $100/day until they comply. And 2013 taught us that the disctrict was serious about this, since 200 buildings have been fined for not complying.

Download the New 2014 Covered Building List of buildings required to be benchmarked, so you don’t miss out.




Scores Affect Marketability.

DC’s primary purpose of requiring public and private buildings to benchmark their energy consumption is to display the information publicly, encouraging low performing buildings to invest in energy-saving projects to raise their score.

Without city-wide benchmarking, Energy Star scores are only made public to praise buildings with Energy Star scores of 75 or higher. However, the purpose of publicly disclosing energy data throughout the city is to point out low performers. So all energy star scores from the benchmarking are public. As buildings with low Energy Star scores are more expensive to run than buildings with high energy star scores, this public display can significantly affect the marketability of your lower performing buildings.


DC is Drawing Attention to Public Data.

If you thought you could hide your low Energy Star score in the mass of 1,480 buildings benchmarked in DC scrunched in an Excel file, you might have been able to in 2013. However, DC is making large strides towards increasing the publicity of benchmarked energy data.

For example, the Build Smart DC initiative has posted the Energy Star scores of over 400 buildings, along with their monthly data usage and daily electricity demand. The Build Smart DC website allows you to search buildings by size, annual kWh, Energy Star score, source EUI, energy cost per square foot, or property type. Check out your child’s school or your office building to see how they’re performing.




There are dozens of other cities across the country that require Energy Star benchmarking that are also looking to publicly display performance. This initiative to build smart cities focused on energy efficiency has radiated throughout the country, driving competition between cities to reduce their carbon footprints.

Luckily, initial steps for raising your energy star score are not complicated or costly. There are many ways in which buildings waste energy without anyone noticing, and with benchmarking data that can easily be fixed.

This might be a bit overwhelming, though, we get this. So to help you get started, we are working on a free energy star submission and report tool. It will be available at the end of the month, and you can pregister here:


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