On average, 30% of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted. Benchmarking a commercial building is a great first step towards reducing energy usage and costs. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager will calculate your buildings energy use intensity (EUI) by dividing the building’s energy use by square footage. This number will act as a baseline to compare your building’s efficiency to those of similar buildings. This previous post discusses how important it is to set effective energy performance goals for your building.

The Los Angeles Existing Buildings Energy and Water Efficiency (EBEWE) Program requires privately owned commercial buildings 20,000 square feet or over and buildings owned by the City that are 7,500 square feet or over to be benchmarked using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The data submitted is for the previous calendar year and each building’s energy and water consumption data will be viewable to the public. Since this program was implemented in 2017, building owners have only been required to publish their consumption data without meeting any goals or standards.

Starting in 2021, buildings must validate that they are energy and water efficient, or on a pathway to efficiency. The ordinance now has deadlines for these properties to submit their Energy and Water Performance reports once every five years. The five-year cycle is determined by the properties last digit of the LADBS Building ID.

Building owners must exemplify energy efficiency by performing an energy audit and implementing retro-commissioning measures. An energy audit is a walk-through assessment of a building’s energy efficiency. The final report analyzes annual data to identify and provide savings and cost estimates of low-cost/no-cost measures. It will list potential future measures, check the current rate structure, and list available rebates. This level of effort is typically repeated or refreshed in 2- to 5-year increments to help preserve efficient operations. Retro-commissioning will focus on scheduling repairs and maintenance of existing equipment, specifically measures that are observable during the energy audit. In addition to energy performance, building owners must obtain a water audit and implement retro-commissioning measures for plumping equipment. If building owners choose not to pursue the audit/retro-commissioning route, they must meet the exemptions below:

Energy Performance:

  • Achieve ENERGY STAR Certification for the compliance year, or for two of the three years preceding compliance date


  • Document 15% reduction in energy use intensity over the prior 5 years, using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

Water Performance:

  • Document 20% reduction in water use intensity over the prior 5 years, using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

If your building must comply with these requirements, VCA Green performs energy audits and retro-commissioning for multifamily and commercial buildings. Contact VCA Green below for more information.

Contributing Writer: Devin Green, Operations Coordinator

Moe Fakih, Principal
714-363-4700 x501