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Plan for creating a Mandatory benchmarking & transparency program

General Information

Benchmarking is the process of measuring a building’s energy performance and comparing it with its energy baseline, or comparing the building’s energy performance with the energy performance of similar types of buildings. Benchmarking buildings can provide owners with valuable data so that they can save money and improve planning. Mandatory programs are those where a community has adopted a policy requiring energy benchmarking. A mandatory program assures the participation of most of the covered properties, it provides additional information for comparison, and increased participation in benchmarking should lead to greater energy savings.

Building benchmarking policies often include a component “disclosure” or “transparency”. Most government reporting programs include a provision for that information to be made public in some manner. When performance data is disclosed, there is greater knowledge in the market that will help tenants, building owners/operators, as well as those purchasing buildings consider cost of operating a building.

References and Additional Resources

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholders are in important to success of any benchmarking project. There are two types of stakeholders for a mandatory benchmarking program. There are the team members that work for the community’s government, called internal stakeholders, and then there are the community partners and allies. Creating a mandatory benchmarking program begins with identifying the internal stakeholders.

We have developed a list of typical internal stakeholders for mandatory benchmarking programs to help you identifying your internal stakeholders. Would you like to identify your internal stakeholders now?

Identify Your Internal Stakeholders

These stakeholders help develop, authorize, champion, and implement the project. For each stakeholder that is important to your community, please check the box and enter the stakeholders contact information. Additional stakeholders can be added by clicking on the green plus button.

Government Stakeholders

Working with External Stakeholders

Because this is a mandatory program, it is important to clearly communicate with building owners and operators that may be covered by the ordinance, along with other people in the community that will be partners and allies to help support the project. People that will be involved in implementing the project need to reach out to owners and property managers along with trade organizations, non-profits, utilities, and others.

We have developed a list of typical external community stakeholders, partners and allies for mandatory benchmarking programs to help you identify these stakeholders for your community. Would you like to identify your external community stakeholders, partners and allies now?

Identify Your External Stakeholders

For each stakeholder that is important to your community, please check the box and enter the stakeholders contact information. Additional stakeholders can be added by clicking on the green plus button.

Building Owners/ Operators / Property Managers

Industry Associations

Energy Vendors / Engineers / Architects


Government Entities

Public/Non Profit

Stakeholders Not Listed Above

Scope Your Program

Which Buildings?

There are a variety of building sectors that can you can focus on. Most communities begin with focusing on getting the business community to measure and report on energy benchmarking. The hope is that this mandatory benchmarking activity will inspire the business community to voluntarily undertake measures to reduce energy use. Some programs also include requiring large multi-family building owners to benchmark so that prospective tenants can use that information as one evaluation criteria when they are choosing a residence.

Which Data?

Establishing Goals

Establishing the purpose for benchmarking will influence the way data is collected and analyzed. Why is your community interested in benchmarking?

Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics for Success

Here you will be guided through the process of developing objective, strategies and tactics for your benchmarking policy. Please check out the following examples. At the end of the examples, is a template you can fill out to list your objectives, strategies and tactics. You can click on the green plus sign to add as many as you like.

Objectives Examples

Once you have determined the overall goal of the mandatory program, set up clear, measurable, achievable, time-limited objectives so that the team can track progress toward the goal. Examples of specific objectives include:

  • Have 95 % compliance with the law by the end of year 1
  • Educate 100 people about how to use benchmarking information to help create an energy management strategy in six months.
  • Establish a baseline and accompanying goals for community wide energy intensity reduction in three months.

Strategies Examples

Typically multiple strategies are used to achieve each objective. These should be high-level strategic ideas. Try to include a target audience for each strategy. Examples of an objective and related strategies include:

Sample objective: Have 95 % compliance with the law by the end of year 1

Sample Strategies:

  • Work with industry association leaders to educate their membership.
  • Develop a communication plan that includes material/marketing collateral/web sites/ social media explaining who is covered and how to comply.
  • Provide a "Help Desk" to answer questions and provide support.

Sample Objective: 3% Annual Energy Savings

Sample Strategies:

  • Feedback and education of under-performing facilities.
  • Annual reporting to the community highlighting value of achieving the savings goal.
  • Awareness campaign for best practices to improve energy efficiency or capital improvements.

Tactics Examples

Identify specific tactics to achieve each strategy. How are you going to make these strategies happen?

Sample strategy: Work with industry association leaders to educate their membership.

Sample Tactics:

  • Prepare an educational presentation for business owners, facility managers, and tenants by the end of the first quarter
  • Provide IFMA leadership with brochures that include links to the website and the Help Desk Number
  • Prepare an educational presentation for the BOMA membership at a regularly scheduled meeting

Measuring Success

Consider how you will measure success for each of your objectives so you can adjust your strategies and tactics if the objectives are not being met. It also allows you to easily report on the results.

Write Your Own Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics for Success

Now that you have an idea of some objectives, strategies and tactics, you can make your own. Enter one objective, and then multiple strategies and tactics, and success measures. You can then click on the green plus sign, and repeat the process with a second objective. Add as many as you like. This information will be printed in the final plan.

Add another objective:


There are a wide variety of tools that can be used to help you reach your project goals. What sort of tools are you going to use?

Examples and Additional Resources

Why Benchmark?

Example Websites

PACE Financing Information

Example Press Release

Example Advertisement

Example One Page Program Summary

Example case studies

Example Blogs

Example Brochures

Example Newsletter

Example Guidebook

Example Radio

Smart Meter Texas (SMT) Information

Example Video

How to Create a Help Center

How to Create an Energy Efficiency Competition




Example YouTube


The next step is to work with the internal stakeholders to define the budget and resources needed to support the program you have developed. Do you know your approximate budget?

Marketing Material Development and Production
Outside Consultants

Write a draft benchmarking and transparency ordinance

Once you have worked with stakeholders to define the scope of your project, you can begin to draft a benchmarking and transparency ordinance. Benchmarking and transparency ordinances across the country share many features. In order to ease the process, we have created a "write your own ordinance" tool that will provide initial draft ordinance language based on your inputs.

Would you like to use the Write a Draft Benchmarking and Transparency Ordinance Tool now?

Evaluate Results

After the initial program kick off, the team should regularly evaluate

  • Is the project meeting the objectives?
  • Are the original objectives still appropriate, so should they be refined?
  • Is information accessible and usable to appropriate parties?

The benchmarking team should compile the information from re-appraisal process, identify opportunities for improvement, and update the plan.

DOE has prepared an excellent guide, “Benchmarking & Transparency Policy and Program Impact Evaluation Handbook”, that can be used to help assess if your project is meeting its objectives.


It is important that the project team communicate the results of the benchmarking program. Consider the following tips when communicating the results.

  • Demonstrate the value—showing the benefits of acting on the information.
  • Be clear about the program intent. Focus on finding opportunities to improve performance cost effectively.
  • Empower stakeholders to integrate benchmarking and strategic energy management into existing operations and provide training.
  • Celebrate success.

TIP: Use many different methods identified in the Tools to communicate these results.

Thank you using the How to Create a Mandatory Benchmarking and Transparency Program.