Energy benchmarking is rapidly gaining recognition as a useful way to pinpoint and decrease energy usage in multifamily and commercial properties. New initiatives spearheaded by the Environmental Protection Agency have led to energy benchmarking requirements in many cities across the nation.

Over 20,000 buildings in New York City began to document their energy usage on May 1st using the EPA’s Portfolio Manager online tool. This action falls under a mandate of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, which states that all NYC buildings larger than 50,000 square feet are required to benchmark their energy usage or face major fines.

Recently, San Francisco also passed an Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance, requiring commercial properties to conduct energy audits and benchmark their usage utilizing the EPA Portfolio Manager. The ultimate goal for these energy benchmarking initiatives is to decrease each respective city’s energy usage in the future.

While energy benchmarking was initially utilized only in commercial buildings, it is becoming more widely accepted by multifamily properties as well. According the Multifamily Executive, over 1,500 multifamily buildings utilized the EPA Portfolio Manager software to report their energy usage as of last November, and the number of benchmarked properties only continues to grow. In fact, a Seattle, WA program launched in May requires that the EPA Portfolio Manager be used to benchmark energy usage of multifamily residential buildings exceeding 10,000 square feet by 2012.

Unfortunately, some property owners are finding that even with the EPA’s Portfolio Manager tool, recording and understanding energy usage proves to be a difficult task. If your city requires energy benchmarking, or if your organization is interested in documenting energy usage, consider contacting our partners at Utility Bill Manager, LLC . Find out more about how UBM can take care of reporting your property’s energy usage.

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