City Ordinance Energy Benchmarking and Audit Requirements {California AB 802}

The next milestone in Assembly Bill 802 (AB 802) reporting is here. Last year was the first year the legislation took effect, requiring building energy benchmarking for many buildings in California. Another year in expands the population of buildings now required to benchmark. In addition, there are updates to city required benchmarking in:

AB 802

As a reminder how AB 802 came to be, AB 802 passed to help increase transparency of energy use data. It required the California Energy Commission (CEC) to create a statewide building energy use benchmarking program for buildings over 50,000 square feet (sq. ft.). To facilitate energy data sharing, utilities were required to provide building-level energy use data as of January 1, 2017 under AB802.

Beginning in 2018, only buildings 50,000 sq. ft. or above with no residential utility accounts needed to report by the first deadline, June 1, 2018. Starting in 2019, AB 802 requires all commercial and multi-family buildings over 50,000 sq. ft. submit a benchmark. You can see changes to the requirements in the following table.

Municipal Benchmark Requirement

A few cities have their own benchmarking programs, some of which go above and beyond AB 802 reporting requirements. San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego all have local energy reporting ordinances. For these cities, only the city benchmarking is required – that city will provide the AB 802 data as needed to the State.

San Francisco

San Francisco adopted their ‘Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance’ in 2011 and phased in adoption over three years. It now applies to nonresidential buildings 10,000 sq. ft. and above and requires all of the following:

Annual benchmarks are due April 1. You can find more information here.


Berkeley adopted its own energy efficiency requirements with the Building Energy Saving Ordinance (BESO). It requires an energy assessment (audit) of a home or building under 25,000 sq. ft. at time of sale and has a phase-in schedule for buildings 25,000 sq. ft. or larger requiring both an energy assessment and benchmarking as listed below. Energy assessments are required every 5 years.

You can find more information on how to comply here.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles has their ‘Existing Buildings Energy and Water Efficiency Ordinance’ (EBEWE). In 2019, following the same deadline for AB 802, privately owned buildings 20,000 sq. ft. or more must be now be benchmarked. and disclose both energy and water use beginning June 1, 2019.

Annual benchmarking reports must be submitted by June 1 every year following their initial requirements for the applicable buildings. Also beginning in 2019, EBEWE requires covered buildings to either achieve specified energy target or perform energy audits and retro-commissioning on a five-year cycle. Beginning in 2020, buildings must demonstrate they are on the pathway to be energy and water efficient to comply.

San Jose

San Jose adopted their Energy and Water Building Performance Ordinance and went into effect January 17, 2019 with May 1, 2019 as the first reporting deadline. It requires all commercial and multi-family properties over 50,000 SF to submit a 2018 benchmark with electricity, gas and water usage. Beginning in May 1, 2020 all commercial and multifamily properties over 20,000 square feet are required to report. Energy audits will be required beginning in 2021.

San Diego

San Diego’s Building Energy Benchmarking Ordinance first reporting deadline was June 1, 2019. Reporting requirements are listed in the following table.


Source: City of San Diego

Next Steps

You’ll need an ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account to access your building energy use information. Once you’ve completed your account setup and compiled your energy data you can submit your data. If you need any help reporting your data or complying with energy assessment (audits) or retro-commissioning requirements please contact us anytime.

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