Across the U.S., an increasing number of state and local jurisdictions are implementing building performance reporting laws, which generate large quantities of useful data on the characteristics and resource consumption of the building stock. However, to realize the potential of these policies, the data must not only be disclosed, but put to work to drive energy savings. Under a three-year pilot, Washington, D.C., New York City, and their partners are pioneering the use of data from building performance reporting in energy efficiency programs.

The Putting Data to Work project was developed on the assumptions that the publication of building performance data on government websites does little to drive transformative change in the energy efficiency market on its own, and that the value of the building performance information being collected by many cities nationwide is not yet being fully realized.

A Toolkit for Cities and Energy Efficiency Implementers

Similarities in the nature of the information being collected across cities means that those jurisdictions with newer benchmarking and building performance transparency policies can adopt best practices developed through DC and NYC’s many years of expereince working with their policy data. This hands-on experience collected in the District and New York City provides a guide for identifying efficiency opportunities using City-collected data.

This toolkit and associated resources aim to enable other local governments, utilities, and program implementers to learn from the District and New York City’s experiences and replicate their success, to maximize energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) savings from their built environments.

For jurisdictions with building performance policies such as benchmarking and audit requirements, the hands-on experience collected in the District and New York City provides a guide for identifying efficiency opportunities using City-collected data.

For utilities and program implementers, these resources bring to light ways in which publicly available policy data can assist in better customer targeting, ideally leading to higher participation rates at lower customer acquisition costs.

Download the Toolkit

Resources for City Government Sustainability Leaders

Guidance and Recommendations

Putting Data to Work: How are Cities Using Building Energy Data to Drive Efficiency
Cities with building performance policies can use this report to understand how other jurisdictions are using the data collected through these ordinances. This includes strategies for improving data quality, communicating the data to motivate action, using the data to directly drive efficiency retrofits, using the data in city climate and energy planning

Tools You Can Use

Impact Assessment: A Guide for City Governments to Estimate the Savings from Energy Benchmarking and Energy Efficiency Programs
This paper describes how cities are actively using benchmarking data to evaluate the impact of their energy efficiency policies and programs, and includes best practices for other cities to conduct similar analyses.

Using Monthly Energy Data from Benchmarking Programs: Insights for Better Buildings and More Effective City Programs

This guide provides an overview of the powerful ways in which monthly building consumption data can yield new insights, and how these insights can help cities to design more effective targeted programs.

What Others Have Done

Deploying Building Performance Data in Climate Strategy: Clean Energy DC
This case study examines how the Clean Energy DC Plan can serve as a model for city policymakers stakeholder engagement and active use of benchmarking data in climate planning.

Successful Partnerships to Accelerate Efficiency: NYC Retrofit Accelerator
This case study looks at how city and utility energy efficiency program implementers can use building performance information proactively to identify energy efficiency upgrade opportunities and accelerate investments by building owners in their jurisdiction. It also explores a successful example of partnership between local government and utilities.

Resources for Energy Efficiency Program Implementers

Guidance and Recommendations

Emerging Uses for Building Energy Data for Utilities
This report summarizes existing and emerging ways that building performance data can be used by utilities and cities to improve customer service, programs, operations, resilience, and other priorities.

Tools You Can Use

Efficiency and Beyond: Guidance for Efficiency Program Administrators to Aid Building Owners
This resource list helps efficiency program staff to coach and compel building owners to pursue greater energy efficiency in their properties beyond complying with a building energy use benchmarking policy.

Outreach Strategies for Cities and Efficiency Administrators
This four-part tool provides energy efficiency program implementers with a script and step-by-step guidance for contacting and engaging customers to undertake energy efficiency projects.

Implementation Guide for Energy Efficiency Program Administrators: Using Building-Level Data to Improve Energy Efficiency
Utility energy efficiency program implementers can use this brief guide to kickstart programs that use building performance data to generate leads and increase program participation.

What Others Have Done

Increasing Customer Engagement With Data: District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility
This case study examines how an implementer of electric and gas utility programs can use energy benchmarking data to better engage customers and increase participation in its incentives and efficiency programs, as well as track the results of this participation over time.

Making the Financial Case for Energy Efficiency Upgrades: NYCEEC efficienSEE™ tool
This case study examines how jurisdictions that have collected whole-building energy benchmarking data may leverage the modeling and development of New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation’s (NYCEEC) efficiencSEE tool to provide their stakeholders with tools to make the financial case for energy efficiency upgrades.

NYCEEC as Market Mover: Motivating and Financing Building Upgrades
NYCEEC has financed efficiency retrofits in multifamily, commercial, and industrial buildings. Efficiency program implementers can use these real-world examples of projects—specifically the financial information and projected energy savings—to motivate others to retrofit their buildings.

Additional Resources

Connect with Project Participants
  • There are no formal presentations are scheduled at this time.
  • Schedule a meeting or learn more by contacting Erin Beddingfield at
Watch a Putting Data to Work webinar

Assessing the Impacts of Benchmarking and Transparency Policies in Cities

How Cities’ Building Performance Policies Create Energy Efficiency Data Utilities Can Use

Follow Putting Data to Work Project Partners Online

Project Partners

This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), under Award Number DE-EE0007063.

This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government.  Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights.  Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof.  The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.

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Senior Manager of Project Delivery