Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure for Buildings
Climate Initiative: Powered by San Antonio

What is energy benchmarking?

On October 17, 2019, City Council approved the Climate Action & Adaptation Plan. The Plan includes a slate of mitigation strategies aimed at preventing emissions from greenhouse gases, eventually leading us to the goal of net neutral emissions by 2050. One of the mitigation strategies under the theme of reducing energy consumption is commercial and multi-family benchmarking and a disclosure ordinance.

Energy benchmarking is the process of regularly measuring a building's energy use, tracking its performance over time, and comparing its performance to that of similar buildings. Benchmarking data helps owners and tenants understand their building's relative energy and water performance, also helping to identify opportunities for the reduction or elimination of energy and water waste, potentially saving money and improving health and comfort.

Benefits of benchmarking

Benefits of Benchmarking

  • Flag hidden problems
  • Drive more energy actions, faster
  • Peer-to-peer building performance comparison
  • Prioritize energy actions and make informed decisions
  • Realize savings from reduced energy and water use
  • Achieve higher occupancy, rental, and sales values


In order to fulfill the requirements set forth in the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, the Office of Sustainability will develop and pursue adoption of an energy benchmarking and disclosure ordinance for large commercial buildings.

Reporting and increased transparency will create accountability to address buildings with high energy efficiency needs as well as public awareness of existing retrofits.

Some cities with similar policies in place are provided below:

Results from Cities with Benchmarking Ordinances

  • Chicago: Energy consumption down 5.2% from 2014 to 2018. $15.1 million bill savings per year.
  • Minneapolis: Energy consumption down 3.4% from 2014 to 2016. $21 million bill savings per year.
  • Denver: Energy consumption down 4.5% from 2017 to 2018. $13.5 million bill savings per year.
  • New York: Energy consumption down 10% from 2010 to 2015.
  • Seattle: Energy consumption down 3% from 2014 to 2015.
  • San Francisco: Energy consumption down 7.9% from 2010 to 2014.


The City has published its energy consumption through the 2019 Municipal Building Energy Benchmarking Report to set an example of transparency and reporting. This baseline data is critical to our efforts, as we work to achieve zero net energy for all of our municipal buildings by 2040.

Another essential program that will aid in achieving the CAAP’s goal is the Energy Efficiency Fund (EEF). The EEF was established to fund energy conservation projects that reduce utility expenditures in City facilities.

Meeting Information and Notes

The Office of Sustainability convened a Benchmarking Advisory Committee comprised of property owners, businesses, energy performance professionals, and other stakeholders to assist with the development of a benchmarking policy.

Past Meeting Presentations
  • BAC 1 (PDF) - 10/22/2019
  • BAC 2 (PDF) - 12/17/2019
  • BAC 3 (PDF) - 1/21/2020
  • BAC 4 (PDF) - 2/21/2020
  • BAC 5 (PDF) - 1/12/2021