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Mandatory Benchmarking Ordinances You Need To Know in 2018

Increasing regulations for mandatory building disclosure across North America are going into effect in 2018, and more markets now must comply. These benchmarking laws make building operators aware of how much energy and water each building uses, which regulators hope will spur action to reduce utility consumption and costs to increase net operating income.

One province and four cities will be joining the growing list of cities that require building performance reporting to their regulatory entities in 2018. See if your buildings are affected.


Ontario, Canada

Ontario, Canada, will require buildings greater than 50,000 square feet to report their energy and water consumption through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The province, which accounts for nearly 40% of the country’s population and includes large cities like Ottawa and Toronto, has introduced this benchmarking ordinance to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and fight the effects of climate change.

July 1 is the annual deadline for reporting on the previous year’s performance and is rolled out over three years, beginning in 2018.

Commercial and industrial buildings:

  • 250,000 square feet must report by July 1, 2018
  • 100,000 square feet – first report is due on July 1, 2019
  • 50,000 square feet – first report is due on July 1, 2020

Multi-family buildings:

  • 100,000 square feet – first report is due on July 1, 2019
  • 50,000 square feet – first report is due on July 1, 2020

Orlando, FL

Commercial, institutional, and multi-family buildings larger than 50,000 square feet must now publicly disclose whole building energy data to the city with the Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy (BEWES) going live this year. According to the announcement, this policy affects 5% of buildings in Orlando, which “account for nearly 50% of total energy and water used by all buildings citywide.” This ordinance has three parts:

  1. Benchmark energy use (annually): Buildings larger than 50,000 square feet must track building information and whole-building energy consumption – electricity, gas, and any other fuels, including common and tenant-occupied spaces.
  2. Information Transparency (annually): Starting in May 2018, buildings must report their benchmarking score to the City of Orlando.
  3. Energy Audits or Retro-Commissioning (once every 5 years): Starting in May 2020, buildings with an ENERGY STAR score below 50 are required to perform an energy audit or perform a retro-commissioning of building systems every 5 years.

Pittsburgh, PA

Nonresidential buildings over 50,000 square feet must disclose whole building energy and water data to the City of Pittsburgh. Buildings covered by this policy must report 2017 data to the city by June 1, 2018. Reporting will be completed annually on June 1.

Pittsburgh’s buildings currently account for 81% of the city’s carbon emissions; as the urban center of the city accounts for the vast majority of emissions and related health effects, Pittsburgh has taken undertaken several other local initiatives to expand sustainability efforts. This includes the Pittsburgh 2030 District’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, The City Energy Project to share knowledge among cities’ sustainability efforts, and the OnePGH initiative to build resilience through building community.

St. Louis, MO

By April 1, 2018, municipal, institutional, commercial and multifamily buildings 50,000 square feet or greater must publicly disclose their annual energy and water consumption to the City of St. Louis, MO, through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

According to the St. Louis benchmarking ordinance website, “buildings are responsible for nearly 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the City of St. Louis.” The new ordinance is aimed at increasing energy efficiency, reducing negative public health effects, and creating new jobs.


Boulder, CO

Boulder, CO, continues the roll-out of the Boulder Building Performance Program that requires disclosure of building performance data and regimented action to make buildings more efficient. 53% of Boulder’s total GHG emissions are a direct result of commercial & industrial buildings, so the city aims to reduce emissions while improving efficiency to promote economic and community benefit.

The ordinance has two parts: annual reporting and benchmarking for building energy use, and efficiency retrofit requirements, including:

  • Mandatory energy assessments every ten years
  • Retrocommissioning every ten years and implementation of cost-effective measures within two years of the study
  • One-time lighting upgrades

While >50,000 SF existing buildings and new sites have already been disclosing data, existing buildings >30,000 SF are now required to report this year. This information must be reported by June 1, 2018, and on an annual basis thereafter. Below is the scheduled roll-out of benchmarking.


Portland, ME

As part of Order 67 16/17, nearly 300 buildings must now disclose covered building’s energy and water performance to the city of Portland, ME. The following building types must comply with the new benchmarking ordinance:

  • Municipal buildings larger than 5,000 square feet
  • Non-residential buildings larger than 20,000 square feet
  • Multi-family properties with more than 50 units

This information must be reported by May 1, 2018, and on an annual basis thereafter.

By using a software solution to track your compliance workflow, you can stay up-to-date on which buildings within your portfolio fall under these ordinances. Your building information and utility consumption data are required to report, so using a tool to aggregate this information can be helpful to ensure your information is accurate and can greatly cut down on the time and costs of building benchmarking reports.

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