The Impact of City Benchmarking Ordinances

May 2, 2017

According to a survey conducted by NEMA, cities’ building energy benchmarking and transparency ordinances are found to have a direct and positive impact on energy efficiency. 

There are plenty of hurdles to get over when trying to track energy use. If benchmarking was easy everyone would do it on their own accord. But because it’s not, cities have stepped in. Cities like New York City have implemented building energy benchmark ordinances that require large buildings to measure and disclose energy use, as well as give detailed plans on how they will reduce it.

According to a survey conducted by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), cities’ building energy benchmarking and transparency ordinances are found to have a direct and positive impact on energy efficiency.

The survey also found that 84% of FMs who benchmarked their facilities’ energy use made a low- or no-cost operational change to improve their buildings’ performance, while 82% invested in new equipment to improve their buildings’ energy performance.

“This survey adds to the growing evidence that building energy benchmarking and transparency ordinances are prompting facility managers and building owners to make investments in energy-efficient equipment and low- or no-cost operational changes, says Kyle ​Pitsor, vice president of Government Relations at NEMA. “Other cities should consider adopting building energy benchmarking and transparency policies similar to New York City’s Local Law 84 to spur energy savings and to support the manufacturing and construction jobs that stem from building upgrades.”

Other studies in addition to NEMA’s have shown that commercial, multifamily and public buildings that have benchmarked energy use pursuant to city benchmarking ordinances have reduced their energy use intensity and increased their ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager scores faster than buildings not subject to such laws. These findings are consistent with the conclusion that benchmarking laws are catalyzing increased building efficiency. ​​​

To read Boosting Building Energy Upgrades through Benchmarking Policies survey from NEMA, FMs can visit the High-Performance Buildings Council website

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