California Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure – Assembly Bill 802

By Anna Marie Pinion
Engineering Analyst
Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)

Assembly Bill 802

Energy consumption accounts for approximately 30% of a typical office building’s operating costs, making it the building’s largest operating expense. With such a significant amount of cost, many businesses and building owners understand the financial benefit of green buildings and have started to prioritize energy efficiency. Recently, local governments across the United States have begun implementing policies that require building owners to take a closer look at their energy consumption through benchmarking and transparency. Publicly disclosing information enables building owners to make more informed decisions on how to increase energy efficiency, which results in saving money, better productivity, higher occupancy rates and better sale prices for buildings. California is the first state to create a statewide policy that requires all public, commercial, and multifamily buildings that exceed 50,000 square feet to complete benchmarking and public disclosure. With the passing of AB 802, building owners across the state have begun to take a closer look at energy consumption.

map image showing U.S. Building Benchmarking and Transparency Policies

The above map is included in this article with permission from the Institute for Market Transformation.

What is Assembly Bill 802?

Assembly Bill 802 requires buildings in the state of California that are larger than 50,000 square feet to disclose their energy use data to the state annually. The California Energy Commission created the program that requires buildings with no residential utility accounts to report building characteristic information and energy use data by June 1st, 2018, and annually thereafter. For buildings with 17 or more residential utility accounts, the first building energy use benchmarking is due by June 1st, 2019. Benchmarking must be reported by building owners through the use of the free online tool ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, provided by the United States EPA. Beginning in 2019 for buildings with no residential utility accounts and in 2020 for buildings with, the California Energy Commission will disclose some of the reported information to the public.

With the introduction of Assembly Bill 802, the California Energy Commission is bringing attention of energy consumption of buildings to the public as well as to building owners, enabling owners and managers to take a conscious look at their energy consumption. By benchmarking against similarly sized buildings, the bill intends to improve everyone’s basic knowledge of energy consumption and promote energy reducing strategies. Energy efficiency not only saves money on utilities, but also lessens the environmental impact of the building, taking us one step closer to a sustainable Earth.

Energy Benchmarking and Public Disclosure

Much like how miles per gallon aids consumers when buying a car, benchmarking and disclosure laws give businesses energy consumption information that proves valuable when buying, leasing, or operating a building. Energy use benchmarking is valuable to building owners because it shows a building’s energy consumption trends and allows the building owner to see where it can improve energy consumption for the building. Through public disclosure of certain energy consumption information, the public is enabled to gain a better understanding of energy efficiency and to better understand the buildings in which they live and work. Building owners and tenants will be able to make better informed decisions regarding leasing and purchasing, and the portfolio manager will allow comparison between similar buildings across the United States. Some cities are taking this a step further, with New York City being on the forefront and requiring buildings to display their Energy Grade on their building by 2020.

Did you miss the 2018 deadline?

The deadline for energy benchmarking was June 1st, 2018 for buildings with no residential utility accounts. If a building owner missed the deadline, the California Energy Commission is authorized to impose a civil fine for a violation of data submission requirements. It is highly encouraged that if a disclosable building has not yet complied with the AB 802 program for them to begin the benchmarking process as soon as possible.

How can SIG help you?

With offices located in Atlanta, GA, Boulder, CO, New York, NY, Minneapolis, MN, and San Francisco, CA, SIG is happy to work with building owners and managers across the country looking for more information about energy benchmarking and energy solutions. SIG can help setup your ENERGY STAR portfolio to begin benchmarking your building or walk you through the process to submit for AB 802. SIG has submitted over 270 buildings for ENERGY STAR certification in the last year and is currently benchmarking more than 400 in ENERGY STAR. Nick Kassanis heads up our San Francisco office and can be reached at for any further questions.

For additional information on Assembly Bill 802, visit:

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