The Energy Chronicles

City of Des Moines Passess Benchmarking Ordinance


City of Des Moines Benchmarking Ordinance


As part of a broader goal to reduce carbon emissions, the City of Des Moines has developed a benchmarking ordinance. This ordinance will require the city’s largest buildings to track their utility data and report it annually. The ordinance passed last night, and will take effect immediately; commercial and multifamily buildings over 25,000 square feet will report 2019 benchmarking data to the City. Benchmarking information will be made public in 2020.


Benchmarking is a useful tool, not only for building owners and developers, but for prospective tenants. It measures a building’s total energy consumption, measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), per square foot (SQFT). BTU per SQFT is a comparable metric that can be used to compare facilities with similar characteristics. When hundreds or thousands of buildings worth of data is uploaded to a platform like Energy Star Portfolio Manager or Iowa’s B3, owners can determine where their building stacks up. The more data, the better. Buildings with a lower BTU per SQFT perform better, and cost less to operate, than buildings with a higher benchmark.


Benchmarking Report from Iowa's B3 Benchmarking Program

Iowa B3 Benchmarking Program Report: Public Schools

Benefits to Performance Transparency


Part of the ordinance requires that building data be made public. Transparency of performance data can help Des Moines residents and businesses make informed decisions about which space to rent. Hopefully, transparency achieved through this ordinance will also encourage owners to make investments in their properties that lower energy costs, and deliver other non-energy benefits, like improved air quality and comfort.


An ordinance like this can seem like it’s just a regulatory burden, but there’s incredible opportunity here. As consumers get more savvy and better understand how building performance impacts health, safety, comfort, affordability, etc., the market will reflect its value. High performing properties will be more attractive and can increase revenue for owners. This will reinforce decisions to improve building performance via energy efficiency and water-saving measures. 


TEG Performs Benchmarking and More


The Energy Group can help owners comply with the ordinance. We can help owners go a step further by identifying the most cost-effective opportunities to improve a building’s benchmark score, or even develop a long-term strategy. Listed below are just a few of the many services TEG provides:

  • Benchmarking
  • Energy analysis
  • Energy monitoring and verification
  • Project management
  • Energy management planning

Call us today at 877-571-6625 to learn more!


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