Utility Benchmarking in Philadelphia

Utility Benchmarking in Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia is currently drafting regulations to implement the new utility benchmarking law. The Philadelphia City Council passed legislation to mandate utility benchmarking and disclosure in large commercial buildings on June 21, 2012. DVGBC supported this legislation because it will encourage building owners and tenants to pay attention to energy use in buildings and ultimately, encourage implementation of water and energy savings measures that will make buildings more comfortable and less expensive to operate.

Read the Press Release about the bill signing here - Mayor Nutter signs Bill No. 120428

Read the legislation here - Bill No. 120428

Read DVGBC's Testimony for the City Council Hearing on June 5th, when the bill was unanimously reported out for first reading in full Council on June 7th

Click here for examples of Utility Benchmarking in other major cities

Read benchmarking related stories:

New York Times: City's Law Tracking Energy Use Yields Some Surprises:

Reporter looks deeper into NYC benchmarking report to find that many older buildings often performed better than newer ones. Story also highlighted steps owners are taking to improve scores, helping to make case that benchmarking and reporting inspires action.

Grist: New York's Energy Efficiency Survey Suggests Older is Often Better

This reporter took data from NYC's benchmarking report and created a Google map of all the properties showing their Energy Star score and GHG emissions.

Energy Manager Today: NY State buildings must increase energy efficiency 20%

NY Gov. Cuomo issues exec order to reduce energy use in state buildings 20 percent by 2020.

GreenBiz: 7 Trends to watch in 2013

GreenBiz editors say benchmarking is a trend to watch for 2013!

Greenbiz: 12 most popular stories of 2012

Includes story of plastics industry taking on USGBC/LEED & story on sustainability reporting.

Environmental Building News: Benchmarking Savings Adds up Quickly, says EPA

EBN picked up on EPA benchmarking report and equated energy savings with teacher salaries in the lead. 

Engineering News Record: Benchmarking Programs Identify Energy Savings Potential

New study by WegoWise finds $137 million in energy savings in 45,000 low-income housing units in Massachusetts.


Read about benchmarking case studies:

1234 Market St.

Ten Penn Center


Talking points on utility benchmarking:

Evaluating how well or poorly buildings use energy helps property owners manage their assets more efficiently.

Talking points:

  • Philadelphia’s existing commercial buildings are, on average, more than 30 years old, and many of those still have outdated and inefficient energy systems. This is an opportunity – over the next twenty years – 70% of buildings will be upgraded or renovated in some way
  • Energy is one of the largest controllable operating expenses in a building.
  • Yet many owners don’t know how well or poorly their buildings use energy or what steps to take to find and stop energy waste.
  • The old adage that you can’t manage what you don’t measure holds true. Providing visibility to the buildings energy and water efficiency helps prioritize resources and capital.
  • There are many low-cost ways to reduce energy use in commercial buildings that pay for themselves quickly and continue to reap savings month after month, year after year.

Improving the energy efficiency of commercial properties helps make buildings more profitable and companies more productive.

Talking points:

  • Research in the Philadelphia region indicates that energy efficient buildings contribute to higher asking rents and lower vacancies than other buildings.
  • Energy efficient buildings cost less to operate.
  • Occupants in energy efficient buildings are typically more comfortable and generate fewer complaint calls.

Sharing building energy ratings can boost brand image.

Talking points:

  • According to a recent national survey, more than 75 percent of corporate real estate executives say they factor sustainability features such as energy efficiency into location decisions.
  • Sharing energy data sends a positive message to employees, customers and potential buyers and tenants.
  • Sharing energy ratings with prospective buyers, tenants and lenders can help differentiate the property from the rest and make it more competitive particularly in a tight real estate market.
  • Having access to building energy ratings helps prospective buyers and tenants make informed decisions about energy-wise buildings that cost less to operate.

For Building Owners

  • Benchmarking can help build tenant-landlord relationships through collaborative efforts to reduce energy and save money.