2014 DC Benchmarking Update: Eliminate High Consumption Space from your Property’s Square Footage

One of the most common frustrations we have heard when helping building owners benchmark properties in DC is that the District’s benchmarking program requires the input of utility data from amenity spaces, such as restaurants and fitness centers. These venues often use disproportionately higher amounts of energy and water per square foot than the spaces that constitute the building’s primary use. This can skew your building’s overall efficiency profile and can result in confusion as to how much energy your building actually uses.

We have good news: a modification to the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) benchmarking reporting requirements in 2014 allows you to exclude the square footage of specialty spaces that do not represent the majority use of your building from the gross square footage (GSF). According to the DC Building Energy Benchmarking Flyer on the DDOE website, “Building owners are now able to exclude certain non-residential tenant spaces that fit all of the following characteristics:

  1. Non-rateable space type, in ratable building
  2. Separately metered for all energy use
  3. Usage is significantly different than the majority of the building
  4. Constitutes less than 10% of the total building square footage.”

This is a significant benefit, as you may no longer need to track down tenant utility bills for these spaces in Portfolio Manager®. This also brings the DDOE benchmarking requirements in line with ENERGY STAR® program requirements and ensures that non-ratable spaces do not impact your benchmarking data.

The deadline to report your property’s 2013 energy and water consumption data to DDOE is fast approaching. By April 1, 2014, benchmarking data for all privately owned buildings in DC of more than 50,000 GSF must be entered into the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager system. Don’t delay your efforts to complete benchmarking for DC buildings. Building owners and non-residential tenants who do not report/respond may be fined up to $100 per day for noncompliance, after the expiration of a 30-day warning period. Additional updates to the DDOE requirements are summarized here. You can find valuable resources on DDOE’s website and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, such as how to account for vacant space and gathering data from tenants who have moved out.

If you have questions about how to enter your data in the Portfolio Manager website, contact us and one of our experts can help.


As Section Head of Building Energy Services in GHT’s Operations & Energy Services (OES) studio, Jeffrey Salay, PE, CEM, LEED AP leads the firm’s efforts to provide ENERGY STAR benchmarking services, conduct ASHRAE energy audits and other energy studies, and design energy efficiency upgrades.