DC Energy Benchmarking



The District’s Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 (CAEA) requires owners of buildings over 50,000 square feet to annually measure and report their energy and water use to the District's Department of Energy (DDOE) by April 1. Final regulations were published on January 18, 2013 and can be found at 20 DCMR § 3513 -Energy Performance Benchmarking of Privately-Owned Buildings. (See Additional Resources below for a link to the current regulations). The first reporting deadline was April 1, 2013 for buildings over 100,000 square feet.

To assist you, DDOE and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) have also updated their fact sheet and benchmarking checklist. Got questions? DDOE now maintains a Benchmarking Help Center. Email: info.benchmark@ dc.gov. Phone: (202) 671-3300 or (202) 525-7036. For AOBA and AOBA Alliance questions about energy benchmarking, you can also contact Kirsten Bowden via email at kbowden@aoba-metro.org or by phone at (202) 296-3390 or April Kreller, Vice President of Operations, AOBA Alliance, via email at akreller@aoba-metro.org or by phone at (202) 296-3390.

Updated Data Collection Worksheet and Checklist: DDOE has updated the Data Collection Worksheet to reflect new information and current guidance for this year’s reporting.


Please note that DDOE cannot access your ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager data unless you electronically report the data. Download DDOE's new reporting guide.


In order to benchmark your building(s), you must collect energy and water consumption information along with information about how the space is used. Building owners can request the data from their non-residential tenants or from the utility companies.

COLLECTING USAGE DATA FROM NON-RESIDENTIAL TENANTS: District law requires all building owners subject to the reporting deadline to provide whole building aggregate electricity data. Because whole-building data is now available for all utilities, building owners are required to report whole-building data when benchmarking and reporting to DDOE. Partial data reports will no
longer be accepted, with the exception of certain spaces that may be exempted, consistent with DDOE and EPA guidance. These exemptions are detailed in DDOE’s data collection worksheet.


Access to Whole-Building Electricity and Natural Gas Use Just Got Easier


Thanks to the Sustainable DC Act of 2014, if you have separately metered tenants, you may now obtain aggregated whole-building data for natural gas in addition to electricity. Washington Gas now provides aggregated gas consumption data to building owners and managers for properties with five or more natural gas accounts. To initiate the process, send an email to aggregateddata@washgas.com; Washington Gas will then provide you with the appropriate form and further instructions. A copy of the new form, along with any new information, has been published on Washington Gas’s Energy Benchmarking page, as well as to DDOE's Energy Benchmarking Data Collection web page.

BUILDINGS WITH FOUR OR FEWER ACCOUNTS/NON-ELECTRIC USAGE: If you have fewer than five separate natural gas accounts in the building, you will need to have each tenant sign a utility data release waiver, and then send copies to Washington Gas at customersupport@washgas.com.

Please note: Because whole-building data is now available for all utilities, you will be required to report whole-building data when benchmarking and reporting to DDOE. Partial data reports will no longer be accepted, with the exception of certain spaces that may be exempted, consistent with DDOE and EPA guidance. These exemptions are detailed in DDOE’s data collection worksheet.


21 DCMR 3513.5 A non-residential building owner, or an owner of a residential building with non-residential tenants, shall request the information about tenant spaces required for the owner to fulfill the requirements of § 3513.3(c). The following applies:

(a) Beginning in 2013 and thereafter, and by February 1 of each year, a building owner shall request the space use, energy, and water consumption information listed on the Non-Residential Tenant Information Form from all non-residential tenants, and may use the Non-Residential Tenant Notification Letter and Non-Residential Tenant Information Form to request this information; or

(b) Beginning in 2013 and thereafter, and by February 1 of each year, provided that one or more utility companies have made access to aggregated utility data available to building owners prior to that date, the building owner may request utility data from the utility company or companies, and is only required to request from non-residential tenants space use information and any utility data not available in aggregate form.



For 2012 reporting, DDOE required that building owners include all spaces within the building, even if those spaces may be excluded from an application for ENERGY STAR certification. In 2013, based on lessons learned from the reporting of 2012 data, stakeholder concerns, and new guidance from EPA, DDOE is harmonizing its guidance with EPA guidance on this issue. Spaces that meet the definition of one of the property use types eligible for an ENERGY STAR score in Portfolio Manager (i.e. Following the EPA guidance on ratable space types) cannot be excluded under any circumstances. If such a property use type is excluded from Portfolio Manager, the property cannot earn an accurate score. When entering data, DDOE recommends grouping all instances of a single property use type together, unless they vary dramatically in operating characteristics.

It is best practice to include all of a property’s floor area when benchmarking. All commercial property uses that do not qualify as one of the types eligible to earn an ENERGY STAR score can be benchmarked as a subtype of the category “Other.”

EXCLUSIONS: You may exclude a portion of the property from the benchmarking report if, and only if, all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The property use and energy use patterns are significantly different than those of the rest of the building (for example: A restaurant or a gym in an office building);
  2. The space is less than 10% of the building’s gross floor area;
  3. The space is not be a type eligible to receive an ENERGY STAR score, nor be residential multifamily housing;
  4. The space’s energy use is separately metered of sub-metered for all energy sources, so that both the space’s floor area and total energy consumption can be excluded from the benchmarking report; and
  5. The building as a whole is eligible to receive an ENERGY STAR score.
If all of the above conditions are met then that space, and only that space, can be excluded from the building’s record in Portfolio Manager, including the building’s total gross floor area. These exclusion guidelines do not affect whether the building as a whole is required to report.



DDOE regulations allow exemptions from the benchmarking regulations under certain conditions. Major exemption categories are listed below; these are largely not new, but are listed here for clarity. All exemption requests should be made in writing to info.benchmark@dc.gov. DDOE has final authority on whether to grant any exemption.

  • Unoccupied: A building may apply for an “unoccupied” exemption if on average less than one full-time-equivalent employee (less than 40 person-hours per week/2080 person-hours per year) worked 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))
  • Sale: If your building was sold in the year being reported then reporting will recommence once a full calendar year of utility data can be collected. (20 DCMR 3513.11(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 3513.11(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 50,000 gross square feet, then it is not required to benchmark, unless it shares energy use with other buildings. (20 DCMR 3513.1)


Technical assistance is available for building owners, property managers, and service providers as they complete the benchmarking process. The DC Sustainable Utility (DC SEU) has compiled a list of recommended benchmarking service providers including AOBA and the AOBA Alliance that can assist building owners with questions regarding the District’s benchmarking requirements.

Kirsten M. Bowden, Esq.
Vice President of Government Affairs, DC
1050 17th St, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 296-3390
Fax: (202) 296-3399
E-Mail: KBowden@aoba-metro.org
April Kreller
Vice President of Operations,
AOBA Alliance
1050 17th St, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 296-3390
Fax: (202) 296-3399
E-Mail: AKreller@aoba-metro.org

DC SUSTAINABLE ENERGY UTILITY (DC SEU): The DC SEU created a Benchmarking Help Center (Help Center) accessible through the DC SEU and DDOE websites to answer questions about DC benchmarking and use of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software. The Help Center is a useful source for building owners and property managers interested in learning how to use ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, obtaining answers to general questions about the regulations, and assistance with data collection. Submit questions and receive answers in a timely manner by contacting the Help Center by calling (202) 525-7036 or e-mailing benchmarking@dcseu.org.



RETAIL AREAS: Building owners/managers are required to include the performance data for retail tenants in the information reported.

VACATING TENANTS: A building owner must request that a vacating non-residential tenant provide performance data for the period the tenant occupied the building. The tenant must do so as soon as practicable before vacating the space or as soon as practicable after vacating space when the information is not available sooner.

SINGLE TENANT BUILDING: In these special cases, benchmarking responsibility may be delegated to the tenant. DDOE must be notified that this delegation is occurring. For more information, and to initiate the process, download the Single Tenant Delegation Model Letter.

FORMS: DDOE does not require building owners to collect data from tenants using DDOE-issued forms. While DDOE has prepared forms (links included below), owners can choose to collect the data without using the DDOE forms.


NEW BUILDING/CHANGE IN OWNERSHIP: A building owner must comply with the benchmarking requirements beginning with the first full calendar year after the building:

  • Receives its Temporary Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Occupancy, whichever comes first; or
  • Change in ownership.

RECORDKEEPING REQUIREMENTS: Building owners must preserve benchmarking results and supporting documents for at least three (3) years. Owners must also make benchmark results and supporting records available for inspection and audit by DDOE during normal business hours, following reasonable notice by DDOE.


20 DCMR § 3513 Energy Performance Benchmarking of Privately-Owned Buildings

All DDOE Benchmarking Forms:Click on this link for a list of all applicable forms or the individual links below:

DDOE Benchmarking Reporting Guide

DC Building Energy Benchmarking Informational Flyer

DDOE's Frequently Asked Questions - Benchmarking. Topics include:

  • Benchmarking property with multiple buildings (No. 22)
  • Building occupant’s work affects national security (No. 26)
  • Requesting data from federal tenants (No. 35)
  • Vacating tenants (Nos. 38 and 39)
  • Mixed-use buildings (No. 45)
District Benchmark Reporting Template

View Public and Private Building Benchmarking Results