How do I benchmark my building's energy performance data?


Each whole non-residential building larger than 10,000 square feet must be benchmarked using Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Portfolio Manager is an online tool provided at no cost to the user by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The benchmarking requirement phases in over three years.

Building owners or their representatives must annually electronically share a brief report of key benchmarking results with the Department of Environment, and tenants. This report is an “Annual Energy Benchmark Summary”, and is based on data from the prior calendar year. For example, a 2011 report will be based on energy used from January 2010 to December 2010. The Annual Energy Benchmark Summary report will include:

  • Contact information and square footage
  • Energy Use Intensity (how much energy the building used per square foot for the year)
  • 1-100 Performance Rating provided by Portfolio Manager, where applicable
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from energy usage 

Benchmarking with Portfolio Manager will also be required under California Public Resources Code 25402.10 (AB 1103.) Where the San Francisco Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance ordinance requires annual benchmarking and public disclosure of limited statistics summarizing overall performance, the complimentary state law will require private disclosure of all energy usage information between parties to the sale, lease, or refinance of the entire building. For additional information:

For the first year that an Annual Energy Benchmark Summary report is required for a given building, the Department of Environment must keep the report confidential. In subsequent years of reporting for that same building, the Department of Environment is required to make the Annual Energy Benchmark Summary public.

Benchmarking Training and Technical Assistance

The best place to start is to attend a free class. SF Environment invites you to join a fast-paced 90-minute webinar which will detail how to meet, and benefit, from the new requirements. The webinars include step-by-step instructions on how to benchmark a building with Portfolio Manager, setup PG&E’s Automated Benchmarking Services (ABS) to automatically update energy use data, and prepare an Annual Energy Benchmark Summary.

Participants will receive free follow-up technical support with benchmarking, sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

When you sign up, you will receive an email with attachments that are essential to getting the most from the webinar. Please provide an accurate email address when registering, and take the time to review the materials before joining us on the day of the event.

Sign up for a Webinar:

Date Time Link
January 13, 2012 10-11:30 am

            Additional Training Resources

  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company provides free classes on benchmarking, and on how to use your benchmark results to save energy and money. Classes are available online, at the Pacific Energy Center on Howard Street, and throughout Northern California:
  • US EPA’s ENERGY STAR program provides both live webinars and recorded training on how to benchmark with Portfolio Manager. (Note: These videos and webinars are provided for a national audience. They do not cover local ordinances or PG&E’s Automated Benchmark Service.)

Exemptions to Benchmarking Requirements

An Annual Energy Benchmark Summary is not required for:

  • New Buildings: (The Certificate of Occupancy from the Department of Building Inspection is dated less than two years prior to the Annual Energy Benchmark Summary due date.)
  • Unoccupied Buildings: (The building had less than one full-time equivalent occupant for the previous calendar year.)

In all other cases, the Annual Energy Benchmark Summary is required. To obtain an exemption to

benchmarking requirements, please write to: [email protected] In the message, include:

  • Contact information for the owner, and the owner’s agent if applicable.
  • Assessor Parcel Number (block and lot)
  • Gross square footage of the building(s)
  • Reason for exemption
  • Date and Permit Number for Certificate of Occupancy, or a copy.
  • Signed statement that the building was unoccupied for the 12 months of the prior calendar year.

Benchmarking Timeline

Annual Energy Benchmark Summary reports will generally be due April 1 each year, with one exception: In 2011, the reports are due October 1.

The Annual Energy Benchmark Summary is based upon the energy performance data for the prior calendar year. For example, statistics prepared and submitted in 2011 will be based upon measured energy performance January 2010 through December 2010.      

Due Date Benchmarking Status of Disclosure
October 1, 2011 Buildings larger than 50,000 square feet must benchmark No public disclosure
April 1, 2012 Buildings larger than 25,000 square feet must benchmark Public disclosure begins for buildings greater than 50,000 square feet (only)
April 1, 2013 Buildings larger than 10,000 square feet must benchmark Public disclosure for buildings greater than 25,000 square feet
April 1, 2014 and beyond Buildings larger than 10,000 square feet must benchmark Public disclosure applies to all affected buildings


How to Submit an Annual Energy Benchmark Summary

To fulfill the benchmarking requirement, the Annual Energy Benchmark Summary 2011 report template must be used.

This link leads to the Portfolio Manager login page. By accessing your account through this web link, a custom report template for compliance with the ordinance will be available in your account. By using the Annual Energy Benchmark Summary 2011 report template, you will securely submit to the Department of Environment only the data required to meet the ordinance, and no more, and data will only be shared with the Department of the Environment when you click “Release Data” at the end of the process. Any information about individual buildings reported via this template in 2011 will be treated as confidential by the Department of Environment, which will publicly confirm which buildings have complied, and may only release aggregate statistics about groups of buildings.


More detailed instructions will pop up when you click the link, and also when you navigate to the report template.

When reporting, it is critical to use Portfolio Manager’s “Notes” field to identify the building by block and lot. To look up the block and lot for a property, visit: 

The Department of Environment will accept an Annual Energy Benchmark Summary for the entire building from any party with the necessary information about the entire building, including the owner’s representative or a whole-building tenant.