What is a "Benchmark"?

A "Benchmark" is a summary of the energy used by an entire building in the previous year.  This information helps owners and building operators understand how the building’s energy performance compares to similar buildings under similar conditions.  


A Benchmark can be obtained by using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager which will provide the building a performance rating and Greenhouse Gas Emissions data as required by AB 1103 for the disclosure of energy usage when a sale, lease or refinance occurs for a whole building.  In addition, the building performance rating satifies San Francisco's benchmarking ordinance California Public Resources Code 25402.10.


Benchmarking your building is also the first in determing how your building's energy performance compares to simlar buildings in your area.  


If a benchmark yields a poor ENERGY STAR rating compared to your peers, it is recommended that a building owner perform the next step, an Energy Audit, to determine what areas of the building should be upgraded in order improve energy efficiency, and over, a higher ENERGY STAR rating.  


Why "Benchmark"?

  • Better understand your building's energy performance: A Benchmark will show how your building's energy performance compares to simliar (peer) building in your area
  • Empower your building portfolio management: Depending on the ENERGY STAR rating of your building, the rating will inform you on whether you should take a the next the step of performing an Energy Audit to determine what areas of your building need improvements to increase energy efficiency which translates to a higher ENERGY STAR rating.  Such improvements might include a lighting retrofit and adjusting and or replacing of components of an existing HVAC system.
  • Improve your building's marketability:  A building that achieves a high ENERGY STAR rating compared to its peers has greater marketability and value for potential tenants and buyer(s) of your property. 
  • Increase your business profitability: The information obtained from the Benchmark, the Energy Audit, and implementation of energy effiiciency stratgies will result in many benefits such as lower building operating costs, increased revenue for the building owner, and longer occupancies

It's the Law:


AB 1103:  Building Benchmark Requirements for Non-Residential Buildings


  • Initial compliance will be required now on January 1, 2014.  


Beginning January 1, 2014 California law will require disclosure of an energy benchmark rating during a whole building financial transactions which includes: a sale, lease and a refinance.


Section 1682. Schedule of Implementation: A building owner shall comply with this article according to the following schedule:



(a) On and after January 1, 2014, for a building with a total gross floor area measuring more than 10,000 square feet

(b) On and after July 1, 2014, for a building with a total gross floor area measuring at least 5,000 square feet and up to 10,000 square feet.


Resources:  AB 1103:  California Energy Commission, Adopted Regulations, Non-Residenital Building, Energy Use Disclosure Program

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GreenPoint Rating:  What's in it for you?  

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Here's a good article on CalGreen and its relation to GreenPoint Rated & Title 24:

"CalGreen, GreenPoints, and Title 24-What's the Deal?" by Rebecca Firestone in GreenCompliancePlus


Building Benchmark:  Per AB 1103, its the law.  Initial compliance will begin on January 1, 2014 (California) for non-residential buildings going through a financial transaction which includes: a sale, lease and refinance.  Click here for more info.


Frequently Asked Questions about CA's Non-Residential Building Energy Use Disclosure Law (AB 1103), click here:  


CTCAC Sustainable Building Method Requirements for affordable housing projects


"Affordable Housing with Unaffordable Energy Bills, Innovative Financial Solutions to Drive Greater Efficiency," excellent article discussing affordable housing and efficiency




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