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Green Building Blog

Energy Performance Disclosure/Energy Use Index – What Does it Mean?

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 @ 02:32 / by Jim Newman

What Does an EUI Mandate Mean to Facility Managers and Building Owners?

We have been hearing a lot lately about Energy Performance Disclosure and Reporting Mandates for public buildings, sometimes referred to as the Energy Use Index (EUI).  

As of today, ten cities and nine states that we know of have or are considering mandates that will require buildings to post their energy use. But what does that mean to building owners and facility managers?

First, let’s take a quick look at what codes and rating systems currently exist.

  • ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 189.1 for Design of High Performance Green Buildings: First released in 2009, this standard was revised and updated in 2011. Unlike many ASHRAE Standards, this Standard was formulated by members from BOMA, the US Green Building Council, municipalities and manufacturers. In addition to energy conservation, it covers environmental responsibility, resource efficiency, community sensitivity and building operation.
  • LEED V3 2009 with LEED V4 expected later this year: Building on previous LEED versions, LEED V4 continues to raise the bar on what is considered “green” in a building. LEED looks at much more than building energy use. It includes materials used, recycling, site selection, water use, and much more.
  • ASHRAE Energy Standard 90.1 – 2010 (≈25% more stringent than 2007): This Standard, used in the building codes of most states because of its inclusion in the IECC, will be the governing Standard in LEED V4, which should be out before the end of 2013.
  • ASHRAE Energy Standard 90.1 – 2013. This standard is more stringent than 90.1-2010 and will undoubtedly be a major portion of the next version of the IECC.
  • ICC’s International Green Construction Code (IGCC): Issued in 2012 with input from ASHRAE, AIA, USGBC, IESNA, BOMA, and others, the IGCC establishes minimum green requirements for buildings and complementing voluntary rating systems. The code acts as an overlay to the existing set of International Codes.
  • ASHRAE Building Energy Quotient (bEQ) Label: Launched in March, 2012, the bEQ is a report card of energy use and indoor air quality (IAQ) in an existing building. The easy-to-understand grading system makes it an attractive standard. (For more on ASHRAE’s bEQ labeling and ASTM’s Building Energy Performance Assessment (BEPA), see the article here.)
  • Energy Star: Using Energy Star’s web-based Portfolio Manager can track and assess energy and water consumption.  A building or manufacturing plant that earns a 75 or higher on EPA's 1-100 energy performance scale performs better than 75% of similar facilities and can be certified as an Energy Star building. Like ASHRAE’s bEQ label, a single score makes this rating easy to understand.
  • Green Globes: touted as a less expensive alternative to LEED, the new version, which just came out in 2013, has been considerably revised and made more useful.

The city and state energy use reporting mandates pick up where the codes leave off. They make the information that is relevant to users, potential tenants and potential buyers, a matter of public record.

While this reporting and disclosure may benefit high-performing buildings, it could cause problems for under-performing buildings, their owners and managers.  They should begin conducting energy audits and implementing energy efficiency programs as soon as possible.

The new mandates generally require the scores to reflect the building as it is actually used.  Certain tenants, however, are by nature high-energy use tenants - manufacturing, for example, or an office building with a data center. Some of the above standards take actual usage into consideration, but some do not.

The European Union has mandated Energy Disclosure since 2003. Here is a list of what we know today for US cities and states that have, are contemplating, or are in the process of implementing similar regulations. This is list is growing all the time.


  • Austin, TX  
  • Boston, MA
  • Denver, CO
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia, PA 
  • Portland, OR
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA 
  • Washington, D.C.


  • California
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Washington

Building owners and managers across the US should be concerned about building energy use today, even if your city or state is not listed here. If you would like specific information for your city or state, please contact us and we will help you decipher what is or may become the standard for your area.

You may rightfully surmise that green buildings are going to become the standard. It may even come to pass that rather than green buildings being called green, buildings that are not green are going to be called brown. Brown buildings will be less desirable and more difficult to lease and to sell. We know that is already happening, and there have been several articles written on this topic. But it’s never too soon to do something about it. 

Topics: Codes & Standards, Energy Codes, ASHRAE, USGBC, Green Building, LEED Cerified Buildings, Energy Audit

Jim Newman

Written by Jim Newman

Jim Newman's passion is helping us move toward a healthier and more secure future – for people and the planet.

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