DC Energy Benchmarking Law

What is DC Energy Benchmarking Law?

The DC Energy Benchmarking Law, formally part of the Clean and Affordable Energy Act (CAEA) of 2008 and amended by the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018, requires building owners in Washington D.C. to track and report their building’s energy consumption to the District Department of the Environment (DDOE). The DDOE intends to publicly disclose this information, enabling building owners and prospective buyers to assess their buildings’ performance.

What buildings are required per DC Energy Benchmarking Law?

  • All privately owned and multifamily Buildings over 25,000 square feet.
  • All privately owned buildings over 10,000 square feet. (Starting 2024)

Your building may qualify for an exemption from reporting if:

  • Unoccupied: A building may apply for an “unoccupied” exemption if on average less than one full-time-equivalent employee or occupant (less than 40 person-hours per week/2080 person-hours per year) worked or resided in the building, exclusive of security guards, janitors, construction workers, landscapers, and other maintenance personal during the year being reported. (20 DCMR 3511.2(d))

  • National Security: If you believe the disclosure of the energy use of the building would be harmful to the public interest and national security, you may apply for an exemption from reporting or public disclosure. (20 DCMR 3511.2(b))

  • New Construction: If your building received its Temporary or Permanent Certificate of Occupancy in the year being reported then reporting will commence once a full calendar year of utility data can be collected. (20 DCMR 3514.3(a))

  • Demolition: If your building was demolished in the year being reported, then reporting is not required, as the building no longer exists. (20 DCMR 3513.1)

  • Under the threshold: If your building is smaller than 25,000 gross square feet, then it is not currently required to benchmark, unless it shares energy use with other buildings. (20 DCMR 3513.1)

You can view the list of buildings required to submit benchmarking data here.

What is the penalty for non-compliance?

Benchmarking: Failure to adhere to the energy benchmarking ordinance by the April 1 deadline will incur a fine. Non-residential tenants must furnish the required energy and water data to the building owner. Failure to do so by April 1, or if the building owner fails to report this information by the same deadline, may result in fines of up to $100 per day for either the tenant or the owner for noncompliance.

Building Performance Standards: The maximum penalty for buildings is ten dollars ($10) per square foot of gross floor area. The gross square footage of the building is determined based on the calculation provided by ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® as documented in the building’s most recent District Benchmark Results and Compliance Report. The maximum penalty for any building shall not exceed seven million five hundred thousand dollars ($7,500,000). For College/University Campuses and Hospital Campuses, there is a unified maximum penalty of $7,500,000.

What is the compliance process?

Building owners must report their energy usage data to Energy Star Portfolio Manager, a reporting tool that allows building owners to compare their building’s energy efficiency with similar buildings.

Starting from December 2020, operators of buildings scoring below the national average of 50 are obligated to conduct an energy audit or opt for retro-commissioning of their base building systems once every five years.

What is the deadline for DC Energy Benchmarking Law?

Clean and Affordable Energy Act requires that building owners annually submit their energy usage data using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool by May 1st. DC energy benchmarking law requires third party verification for benchmarking submission.

What utilities are required for benchmarking reporting?

  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Natural Gas
  • District Energy
  • Any other purchased fuel

What is the purpose for DC Energy Benchmarking Law?

The Washington D.C. Energy Benchmarking Law has several purposes aimed at promoting energy efficiency in buildings:

  1. Transparency and Awareness: By making building energy use public through the DDOE, the law allows building owners and potential buyers to see a building’s performance. This transparency can:

    • Motivate current owners to improve efficiency to avoid bad publicity.
    • Help potential buyers make informed decisions based on energy costs.
  2. Identify Areas for Improvement: By tracking and reporting energy consumption, building owners gain insights into how their buildings use energy. This allows them to identify areas for improvement and implement cost-saving measures.

  3. Reduced Emissions and Environmental Impact: Improved energy efficiency in buildings leads to lower energy consumption. This translates to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a positive impact on the environment.

  4. Policy Development: The data collected through benchmarking helps the DDOE understand overall energy use in the city. This information can be used to develop targeted policies and programs to further promote energy efficiency across Washington D.C.

Interested in benchmarking help?

    If you are interested to learn more how Energy Fave can help with Energy benchmarking for your building or if you have more questions about the whole reporting process, feel free to email us: Info@energyfave.com