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Many states, counties, and cities are implementing their own building energy benchmarking and transparency policies to improve ways owners, tenants and others can access a building’s energy use. These policies vary but the main goal is to increase the awareness of energy usage to encourage businesses and communities to save energy and reduce pollution through efficiency upgrades while increasing the real estate valuation for high performing buildings.
To help jurisdictions measure the impact of their benchmarking and transparency policy efforts, the Energy Department recently released the Benchmarking & Transparency Policy and Program Impact Evaluation Handbook. This simple “how-to” guide walks jurisdictions through the evaluation steps, providing both a strategic planning framework and standard methodologies to measure the impacts of benchmarking programs and policies. Other interested parties—consultants, researchers and government officials—can also use the Handbook to assess benchmarking programs and policies in a consistent manner, so that energy-saving trends and tactics can be spotted around the country.
The Energy Department also used the Handbook methods to evaluate the impact of New York City’s local benchmarking and transparency ordinance, which requires large buildings to track and disclose their energy use. The report, entitled the New York City Benchmarking and Transparency Policy Impact Evaluation Report, indicates from 2010-2013 covered buildings reduced their energy use by 5.7% and lowered their carbon emissions by 8.3% with the added benefit of significant job creation.
These encouraging results demonstrate the strong impact benchmarking programs and policies are having in the market.— As more jurisdictions around the country use benchmarking programs and policies to better understand and optimize a building’s energy use, counties and cities can turn to the Handbook to analyze the impacts. This will lead to even more energy and non-energy benefits for Americans.