Des Moines Rolls Out Implementation of the Building Benchmarking Ordinance

posted by Steve Guyer on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The City of Des Moines has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 28% citywide by year 2025. As part of its emissions reduction goal, Des Moines joined a growing number of major U.S. cities on June 3, 2019, by passing an Energy and Water Use Benchmarking Ordinance.

The ordinance requires owners of commercial, multifamily and municipal buildings 25,000 square feet or larger to benchmark and submit their energy and water usage to the City by May 1 each year. 

Across the country in large cities, buildings often account for most of the energy use and carbon pollution. Though less than 1% of Des Moines buildings are larger than 25,000 square feet, these big buildings represent 43% of all energy use in the city. There are real opportunities for these buildings to improve their efficiency; saving them money, strengthening the local economy, and reducing pollution.  

Benchmarking is key to an energy management strategy since you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Simply stated, benchmarking is measuring a building's energy and water use, and using that data to compare its performance over time as well as to compare it to similar buildings. It allows owners and occupants to understand their building’s relative energy and water performance as well as waste. Learn more about benchmarking

This information can help drive efficiency improvements, lowering the participant's operating costs and preventing the waste of millions of kilowatt hours of energy and billions of gallons of water by the end of the next decade.

Building owners are not required to make improvements based on reported energy and water usage. However, the information can be used to help make strategic decisions and investments that will potentially save money and energy while improving comfort and health. The true value of benchmarking comes from increasing overall awareness of energy and water waste and finding sustainable solutions.

Learn more about benchmarking, as well as several hands-on education sessions hosted by the City in January and February, by visiting

About The Author

Steve Guyer joins IEC as the Energy and Climate Policy Specialist, bringing years of experience and leadership in the energy field. Since 2008 Steve has owned and lead GWA International, a solar installation company based in Altoona that has designed and installed solar systems on the federal cou ... read more