Policy: Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act - SB 350

Bill Text: Assembly Bill 802

Enforcing Agency: California Energy Commission (CEC)

Benchmarking Report Due Date: June 1, annually

Size of Property: 50,000 Sq.Ft. and above

Property Type: Commercial, industrial, multifamily

Required Information: 12 months of energy and building use data

Performance Reporting: N/A

Fees: N/A

Program Summary: Commercial buildings with more than 50,000 sq. ft. and no residential utility accounts, and multifamily residential buildings with more than 50,000 sq. ft. and 17 or more utility accounts must submit whole-building energy benchmarking reports annually.

Enforcement: Public Resource Code #25321 states:¨If after five working days, the owner does not comply, the owner will be subject to a civil penalty (after a hearing that complies with constitutional requirements. Civil Penalty will not be less than $500 nor more than $2,000 for each category of data for each day the violation existed and continues to exist.”


  • No/temporary certificate of occupancy for more than half of the reporting calendar year.
  • The building is scheduled to be demolished one year or less from the reporting date.
  • Condominium complexes.
  • When more than half of the gross floor area of a building is used for scientific experiments requiring controlled environments, or for manufacturing with production lines or industrial purposes.
  • The building is in compliance with its local disclosure law listed on the CEC’s website (e.g. City of LA’s EBEWE), granted that the square footage requirements are met by each program.

Compliance List: AB 802 Energy Disclosure Dashboard


What is Benchmarking?

ENERGY STAR benchmarking measures a building's efficiency performance by calculating its energy/water, and property use data, then compares those metrics to similar buildings in the EPA's software. The building may receive an ENERGY STAR score from 1-100, with 100 being the most energy efficient. Eligible building types with a score over 75 may be eligible for ENERGY STAR Certification.

Why Existing Buildings?

Existing buildings are the second-largest source of GHG emissions in California. Identifying energy and water inefficiencies in our buildings provides valuable insight for policymakers. The chosen method of identifying and analyzing this data is through local and state-mandated Energy Benchmarking and Performance Reporting. Benchmarking is comparing a site’s energy performance to similar building types and uses over a specified period. ENERGY STAR Portfolio ManagerⓇ is the approved tool to complete and submit benchmarking reports for compliance. Here are a few overall notes on meeting energy disclosure requirements:

  • The owner of the building is the responsible party.
  • Benchmarking disclosure is required annually.
  • “Covered or disclosable buildings” are the building types that need to comply. Exceptions exist and vary per ordinance so be sure to check with your individual city’s program or contact us for program requirements.
  • When you comply with your local benchmarking ordinance, the city shares the data with the state, placing you in AB 802 compliance as well.
  • Benchmarking provides insight into how efficient or inefficient your building is operating. Efficient buildings provide for lower operating costs and higher market valuations.
  • Funding: there are available rebates and incentives through your utilities and in some places, local funding for compliance and energy efficiency projects. Most ordinance pages have links to these programs. Also check your electric, gas, and water company webpages for info, or contact us.
  • The State of California only requires annual energy disclosure; however, some cities also require buildings to become energy efficient or meet building performance standards.

5 Tips for Compliance & Becoming a High-Performing Building

  1. Hire Green Econome to complete your energy and water compliance and energy efficiency consulting. We understand that you have benchmarking service provider options; however, from our experience benchmarking over 2,000 commercial, industrial, and multifamily buildings properly, not all benchmarking is the same. We place emphasis on accurately measuring your data, rather than meeting the bare minimum for compliance. It is not only the legal thing to do, but also more economic in the long run. The data in your benchmarking report is valuable to the operation and investment of your property, and the basis of your performance and/or ESG reporting. If corners are cut, you may end up paying more in unnecessary (and costly) audits or having to rehire another firm to correct the work. 
  2. Add tenant authorization to your lease to release energy and water use data from the utilities. In some cases where the tenants are the electric/gas/water account holder, they are required to sign a utility authorization to share their usage data. As you can imagine, this is time consuming and not always successful. In lieu of the authorization, we can submit a copy of the lease if it includes authorization language. 
  3. Create an energy efficiency budget. The Better Buildings Financing Navigator is a great resource which outlines common barriers, solutions and considerations to energy financing. These ordinances are all-for-none if building owners and operators do not invest in the goal of achieving more energy and water efficient buildings by 2030. Visit our case studies for examples of the cost to savings you can achieve through efficiency projects.
  4. Leverage available rebates and incentives. In addition to outside funding and loans, there are robust programs for energy efficiency and clean power through utilities, local and federal government. Green Econome calculates available rebates & incentives savings into our estimates and/or audit reports.
  5. Put your data to work. Use monthly data to track your energy & water use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Demonstrating energy and water reductions through the benchmarking tool in some cities is a path to performance compliance or a requirement for ESG strategies that the building owner or tenant company has in place. Either way, you now have a powerful tool that tracks your ongoing use, so take advantage of it. Green Econome includes benchmarking consultations to assess your building’s performance and identify problem areas or opportunities for savings.

Our hope is that these regulations can inspire real efficiency in your buildings. Our city and state leadership also recognize this can come as a big ask, and so they are supporting commercial real estate owners and communities through incentive programs. Take advantage of them. Most importantly, existing buildings are recognized across the globe as a vital part of the solution. That is a big opportunity for California building owners and property managers to throw their hats in the ring. Good luck and call us if you need us. We cannot wait to see what California buildings can do.