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Energy Waste Reduction

Detroit Benchmarking Ordinance

Why Commercial and Multifamily Energy and Water Benchmarking?

When Detroit’s buildings are energy efficient, owners and tenants will save money, businesses  will reduce operating costs, and  greenhouse gas emissions that threaten our air and climate will be reduced. These efforts, in turn, will help spur economic development and benefit the health of all Detroiters.

In order to gain these benefits at scale across Detroit, we need to know how energy efficient buildings are performing and share that information with the community. This is why establishing an effective program to increase energy efficiency improvements in Detroit’s commercial and multifamily buildings is a priority. This is why a benchmarking and transparency policy is so important for Detroit.

Buildings are the single-largest user of energy in the United States. According to the City of Detroit’s Sustainability Action Agenda, buildings in Detroit accounted for 63% of citywide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2012. Industrial, institutional, and commercial buildings accounted for 40% of citywide GHG, making them prime candidates for impactful reductions. Finding ways to reduce building energy use is critical to achieving Detroit’s GHG reduction goals.

Energy and water benchmarking is an effective way for building owners and managers to understand their energy and water usage. When this information is reported to the city and shared with the community, it can provide consistent and relevant market information so that tenants, renters, occupants, and investors can make informed decisions. Similar to miles-per-gallon ratings on cars or nutrition labels on packaged foods, this data fills an information gap in the market, improving consumer choice and rewarding energy efficiency in buildings.

The policy will increase energy efficiency in large buildings across Detroit. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, buildings that benchmark consistently save 7% of energy consumption on average, resulting in financial savings as well.

Learn more about commercial benchmarking and transparency in these one-pagers:

Detroit's DRAFT ENERGY Benchmarking Ordinance (November 6, 2023)

Detroit's DRAFT ENERGY Benchmarking Ordinance (November 3, 2023)

Detroit's DRAFT ENERGY Benchmarking Ordinance (September 27, 2023)

Detroit's DRAFT ENERGY Benchmarking Ordinance (April 18, 2023)

Detroit's DRAFT ENERGY Benchmarking Ordinance (January 26, 2023)

Detroit's DRAFT ENERGY Benchmarking Ordinance (January 6, 2022)

Detroit's DRAFT ENERGY Benchmarking Ordinance (October 2021)

Detroit's DRAFT EENRGY Benchmarking Ordinance (February 24, 2021)


Ordinance Development and Stakeholder Engagement 


The Detroit City Council Green Task Force Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) Committee is working with the City of Detroit and community stakeholders to develop policy recommendations through mid 2021. Part of this process will include a public comment period. Meeting dates and topics are listed below.

Meeting 1: Setting the context & framing the opportunity

Friday, May 7, 2021

Slide Deck: Detroit Commercial Benchmarking Advisory Committee Meeting 1 Slide Deck


Meeting 2: Benchmarking 101 & Policy Design & Direction

Friday, May 21, 2021

Slide Deck: Detroit Commercial Benchmarking Advisory Committee Meeting 2 Slide Deck

Meeting 3: Policy design & direction

Thursday, June 4, 2021

Slide Deck: Detroit Commercial Benchmarking Advisory Committee Meeting 3 Slide Deck

Meeting 4: Policy direction & implementation

Friday, June 18, 2021

Slide Deck: Detroit Commercial Benchmarking Advisory Committee Meeting 4 Slide Deck

Meeting 5: Reconvening to review revised policy draft

Friday, November 12, 2021

Slide Deck: Detroit Commercial Benchmarking Advisory Committee Meeting 5 Slide Deck


Community policy open houses

Lunch meeting: Tuesday, October 5, 12-1:30 PM

Evening meeting: Tuesday, October 5, 5-6:30 PM



Community Open House Meeting Recording:

If you would like to provide your feedback about the proposed ordinance, please consider taking a short survey about your questions.

Survey Link

What efforts are already underway in Detroit?


In June 2019, the City of Detroit’s Office of Sustainability launched Detroit’s first Sustainability Action Agenda, a strategic roadmap to create a more sustainable Detroit. The agenda outlines actions and measurable goals, including Goal 10: Reduce municipal and citywide greenhouse gas emissions.


In February 2020, the City of Detroit launched the Detroit Energy Challenge for Detroit’s commercial building owners to reduce energy and GHG emissions while improving their bottom line. Together with the Detroit 2030 District, the challenge aimed for large commercial buildings to reduce their energy and water usage by 50% by 2030 and commit to measuring these reductions. 


Additionally, on July 23, 2019, the City of Detroit passed a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Ordinance (Ordinance No. 19-25) which became effective August 8, 2019. The ordinance states that the city will strive to achieve municipal and citywide GHG reductions from measured 2012 levels, including 35% municipal GHG reductions by 2024, and 100% by 2050. The ordinance also states 30% citywide GHG reductions by 2025. 

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