The District of Columbia Green Building Act of 2006 (GBA) and the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 (CAEA), which establish the legislative requirements for buildings' environmental performance, require the District government to benchmark energy use for public buildings 10,000 square feet or larger.  In addition, the GBA and CAEA also establish private building benchmark requirements, starting in 2010 with buildings over 200,000 square feet.  Energy benchmarking evaluates the energy use in buildings.  Using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star software tool, Portfolio Manager, owners must generate an Energy Star efficiency "score" for their buildings and submit the performance data to the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), which will then make the score available to the public.

On June 21, 2011, the DDOE issued an update regarding "Submission of Energy Star Benchmarking Data for Buildings Over 200,000 Square Feet."  Click here to read the entire update.  The update observes that implementation of the data submission requirement will be delayed because the rulemaking process is incomplete.  Until the regulation is final, building owners will not have the necessary guidance and tools for data submission, such as the list of data points to enter into the Energy Star Portfolio Manager or the on-line reporting template for submitting data to the DDOE.

The DDOE anticipates that the draft regulation will be published in July for a 30-day public comment period.  DDOE does not have a specific effective date for the final rule but anticipates an effective date of sometime in October 2011.

The DDOE is encouraging building owners with properties that meet the 200,000 square foot threshold to begin or continue the process of establishing a Portfolio Manager account with the EPA, gathering calendar year 2010 data on energy, water, and space use, and familiarizing themselves with the Portfolio Manager benchmarking process.  Information on benchmarking and links to training resources are available at DDOE's website at www.ddoe.dc.gov. .