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DC Energy Benchmarking Compliance

Benchmarking is the reporting of energy and water data to the city, county, or state government. The purpose is to give them a tool for diagnosing inefficient buildings. This will allow them to better tailor local policies to improve building performance like Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS). This is a critical step in creating a clean energy economy.

As mandated under the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act, DC buildings above 25,000 sq ft have been required to submit their benchmarking reports to the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) by April 1st every year. By 2025, all buildings over 10,000 sq ft will be required to benchmark.

The penalty for non-compliance in the District is $100 per day, from the deadline up until the report is submitted to DOEE.

Energy Benchmarking Reporting

All data must be entered through Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager, which is facilitated through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This software requires you to identify various aspects of your property, including:

  • Property type;
  • Gross floor area;
  • Number of workers/residents;
  • Appliance Information;
  • Hours of Operation; and
  • Other attributes depending on the property type.

It then requires you to enter usage data for electric, natural gas, and water. Once this information is entered, the platform rates your property based on all other similar properties in the database – adjusting for climate zone. This rating is called an Energy Star Score and is scored 1 to 100, with 100 meaning your property is in the top percentile of efficiency compared to similar building types, sizes, etc. As such, your score can go down even if your building remains the same, if the average building in the data set becomes more efficient.

What Comes Next?

The Energy Star Score is very important as states and municipalities will begin to use these scores to crack down on inefficient buildings. In 2021, DC has been requiring buildings above 50,000 sq ft to have scores above DC’s median Energy Star score for your space type – currently at 66 for multifamily buildings. This building size threshold will lower to 25,000 sq ft in 2027 and 10,000 sq ft by 2033.

Buildings that do not meet the required standard will be placed in a 5-year compliance cycle. The building has until the end of the cycle to bring their building into compliance. More information about BEPS here.

Required Verifications for 2024

A new requirement has been introduced for buildings exceeding 25,000 sq ft, mandating Benchmarking Data and GFA (Gross Floor Area) Verifications starting in 2024 and due on April 1st, 2024. This process involves several key components:
  • Verification Components: Third-party firms play a crucial role in this process, tasked with verifying both the Gross Floor Area (GFA) and data related to energy usage and building characteristics.
  • Frequency: Building owners must adhere to a specific verification schedule, with the initial round of verifications required in 2024 and subsequent verifications mandated every three years thereafter.
  • Costs: The financial aspect of this requirement varies based on the choice of the third-party verification firm and the building’s prior GFA verifications. Costs can range from $1,300 to over $4,000, reflecting the diverse pricing structures of different firms and the complexities of the verification process. Building owners should consider these costs and factors when engaging with third-party verification services.

Reach out to us if you’d like a comparative bid analysis from four different engineering firms.

Work with Us!

If you are a property manager, owner, or association board member who could use a hand with benchmarking requirements, Honeydew Advisors is here to help by offering assistance with clear, competitive fees. Our experienced team has a great working relationship with top DEP staff and can manage all necessary reporting and communication with the DEP, and guide you through each stage of the process.


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