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Why Benchmark?

There's an old management adage that say "you can't manage what you don't measure."   That's true in finances (just ask your accountant), true in personnel (heard of employee reviews?) and it's true in energy performance management.  With energy continuing to grow as a percentage of building operating costs, commercial building owners and operators can no longer approach energy efficiency as optional, it's a business imperative.

Knowledge is Power

Knowing your building's energy performance rating is the first step towards managing energy efficiency.  With an energy benchmark, you can compare your building's performance against similar buildings across the country, and against your own historical performance.  Continual benchmarking can help you track energy and water usage, identify areas that need improvement, and measure the impact of investments in facility upgrades.

Efficiency is Valuable

In addition to managing energy costs, studies show that green buildings command a market premium and provide numerous other benefits including:

Green buildings are generally defined as having an ENERGY STAR label or LEED certification, and benchmarking is the first step towards these goals.

Benchmarks are Required

Many state and local governments across the country are starting to require annual benchmarks for commercial building.  There are many good reasons for these regulations - they improve the competitiveness and value of local buildings, create jobs, reduce greenhouse emissions and enhance electricity reliability - but building owners and operators need to be sure that they comply with their local regulations.

San Francisco, along with other cities like Austin, New York, Seattle and Washington DC, is taking the lead in defining proactive energy performance standards for its commercial building stock.  The intent of the Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance (101105) is to help maximize energy efficiency in San Francisco.  For existing, nonresidential buildings 10,000 square feet and larger, the ordinance requires:

In addition to the City of San Francisco ordinance, the State of California has passed Assembly Bill 1103 which requires all owners or operators of nonresidential buildings greater than 5,000 square feet to disclose ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager benchmarking results prior to the sale of the building, or the lease or financing of the entire building.  This bill went into effect on January 1, 2014.

San Francisco Waterfront


Helpful Information

CBRE: Do Green Building Make Dollars & Sense?

WSJ Report: Ten Easy Steps to More Energy-Efficient Buildings

The Economist: Greening the concrete jungle

Next City: If You Benchmark, You Will Save

San Francisco Benchmark Links

San Francisco Benchmarking Program

San Francisco Ordinances on Energy Efficiency in Existing Commercial Buildings

Mayor's Task Force on Existing Commercial Buildings

California Benchmark Links

California AB 1103 Commercial Building Energy Use Disclosure Program

Committee Presentation on California AB 1103 Commercial Building Energy Use Disclosure Program