Utility Benchmarking

Utility benchmarking is a fundamental asset management practice, consisting of tracking, analyzing, and reporting the utility consumption and costs associated with a property or portfolio of properties. It allows building owners, as well as associated funding providers and governing agencies, to gain insight into the energy and water performance of buildings, the potential for improvement in those buildings, changes in performance over time, and the effectiveness of investments made to improve performance. Armed with this knowledge, building owners, funding providers, and governing agencies alike are able to make better decisions about the management of our nation's building stock, to reduce operating costs, and to combat climate change. In the context of the federally supported housing stock, utility benchmarking is a critical activity in the mission to preserve affordable housing, protect tenant welfare, target investments wisely, and meet environmental goals.

HUD strongly encourages the practice of utility benchmarking by the companies, organizations, and agencies that own and manage the nation's housing stock. Please visit this site regularly to find news and announcements, events and training, resources and tools, and policies and incentives to support this effort.

Quick Reference

▶ What are the benefits of utility benchmarking?

Utility benchmarking creates a wide variety of benefits for owners, tenants, and the public. Most notably, building owners that integrate utility benchmarking into their asset management approach often see significant improvements in building performance.  In fact, the mere practice of data tracking can help building owners discover billing errors and malfunctioning equipment, which, once corrected, can result in immediate financial savings. Knowledge gained from utility benchmarking can provide a strong foundation for portfolio-wide and individual-building retrofit planning and verification.

Beyond the building owner, utility benchmarking can lead to improvements in building operations and operating costs, protecting tenants' comfort and finances. The information reported through utility benchmarking programs helps funding providers and governing agencies create better incentives for energy and water efficiency, target investments more strategically, and track progress towards mission-related goals. When made available to the public, anonymized data from utility benchmarking programs supports academic research and enhances public awareness.

For more information on the benefits of utility benchmarking, see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's report, Benchmarking and Energy Savings, and the Institute for Market Transformation's report, The Benefits of Benchmarking Building Performance.

▶ How common is utility benchmarking?

Utility benchmarking is being increasingly practiced throughout the country due to the effect of the local utility benchmarking laws that have been established in 19 cities and 14 states and through voluntary adoption by building owners that wish to use best asset management practices. For a current list of local utility benchmarking laws, see the Institute for Market Transformation's BuildingRating initiative.

▶ Does HUD require utility benchmarking?

HUD is in the process of issuing new requirements for utility benchmarking that apply broadly to housing providers supported by the Office of Multifamily Housing's assisted and insured housing programs and the Office of Public Housing's public housing program, with certain exceptions. HUD also offers certain voluntary initiatives and incentives, like the Better Buildings Challenge (BBC) or the Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) Reduction, that require participants to conduct utility benchmarking. Regardless of program involvement, HUD strongly encourages all housing providers to practice utility benchmarking as part of their basic asset management activities.

▶ How can I get started with utility benchmarking?

HUD is actively working to offer a foundation of support for housing providers as they adopt the practice of utility benchmarking for the first time. This site is being updated on an on-going basis with news and announcements, events and training, resources and tools, and policies and incentives to support this effort.

While many housing providers adopt the practice of utility benchmarking on their own, some hire interns or recruit volunteers to complete some or all of the associated tasks. Others outsource utility benchmarking tasks to third-party providers. In certain cases, HUD funds are available to cover the internal or external costs of utility benchmarking. (Information coming soon.) Further, HUD will be offering technical assistance to housing providers on individual and/or cohort bases. Please check back for information on how to request this service.

News and Announcements

The Future of Affordable Housing is Measured and Managed, Lean and Green (HUDdle, October 7, 2016)

Preservation of Affordable Housing Uses Utility Data to Plan Retrofits and Attract Funding (Better Buildings Beat Blog, October 4, 2016)

The Year of Data Has Arrived: What Multifamily Partners Can Expect (Better Buildings Beat Blog, September 26, 2016)

Connecticut Green Bank Offers Free Benchmarking Services to Multifamily Building Owners (Connecticut Green Bank Website)

Events and Training

HUD's Upcoming Events and Training:
Coming Soon

HUD's Events and Training Archive:
Coming Soon

EPA's Energy Star Portfolio Manager Upcoming Training

EPA's Energy Star Portfolio Manager Training Archive

Resources and Tools

HUD, its partners at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and other organizations provide a multitude of resources and tools related to utility benchmarking.

Getting Started

Utility Data Collection

Utility Benchmarking Software

Case Studies

Policies and Incentives

Review this section for a list of documents related to HUD's Policies and Incentives for utility benchmarking. The list is being updated regularly.