What is benchmarking?

Benchmarking is a system for tracking a building’s annual energy use, giving it a score for efficiency and making the score public.

San Francisco was the first California city to implement such a program with an ordinance that applies to large commercial structures. Owners must report their buildings’ energy use every year. Under federal guidelines, each building is assigned a score from 1 to 100.   

State officials hope to adopt benchmarking throughout California. In the meantime, San Francisco’s model is gaining worldwide attention, according to Barry Hooper, who oversees it for the city.

“We are a world leader in building efficiency,” he said. “I get at least a call a week from different cities researching what they are going to do. We talk to officials in Canada, Singapore, all over the world.”