Building Energy & Water Efficiency Strategy


More than 30 percent of building energy is wasted due to inefficiencies and outdated technologies.

In 2016, Orlando City Council unanimously passed the Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy (BEWES), a policy focused on tracking the energy and water output of our largest buildings. BEWES is a key strategy identified in the Green Works Orlando Community Action Plan.

Since August 1, 2018, any city-owned building above 10,000 gross square feet and any commercial or multifamily building above 50,000 gross square feet is required to have whole-building energy use tracked and reported annually. This information must be provided to the city each year to be made transparent to the real estate market via an annual report and transparency map.

Our Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy: Policy Compliance and Impact Report (2018-2019) provides a comprehensive overview of the policy background and history, compliance trends, impacts since policy implementation, and recommendations to further spur energy and water conservation.

Why does benchmarking matter?

Did you know that the buildings covered by the BEWES policy make up less than 4% of Orlando's total number of buildings, but account for more than 50% of the square footage – and energy use - of all buildings? Through benchmarking alone, building owners and tenants can experience an average annual savings of 2.4% and a six-point increase in ENERGY STAR score over the first three years. *EPA study

Building benchmarking enables better decision-making through building performance data. With this information, we can help local commercial property owners to:

  • Drive efficiency in building operations
  • Save money for businesses and residents
  • Foster a cleaner and healthier environment

Based on the policy impact study(PDF, 996KB) performed by the GreenLink Analytics, the BEWES policy will result in the following outcomes by 2030:

  • Save money and improve comfort - This policy will save an estimated $208 million in energy costs over the first 15 years it is effect. Enhancements to building energy efficiency will also result in improved comfort and productivity at home and in the workplace.

  • Improve air quality and public health - When local buildings are more energy efficient, they consume less power, resulting in fewer emissions from power plants. With this improved air quality, we can expect $57 million in reduced health care costs citywide.

  • Increase economic development and job creation - Improvements to energy efficiency spurs economic investment through reduced operating costs, increased asset values and improved worker productivity. In addition to benefiting existing positions, this policy will drive the creation of more than 500 local high-wage jobs.

  • Reduce water supply constraints - Electric power generation is the largest user of water, so reducing energy demand has a strong effect on preserving our limited water supply. As we face a significant impending water scarcity issue, building energy efficiency will conserve a critical 900 million gallons of fresh water.

  • Enhance our resilience - Enrich our security and resilience to unexpected energy- or water-related emergencies and avoid an estimated 1.1 million metric tons of carbon pollution.

  • Lead the nation - Improve competitiveness and promote Orlando’s position as a leading sustainable city to attract new businesses and investments and succeed in the global marketplace.



Building owners of all commercial and multifamily buildings that are 50,000 square feet or larger are required to enter basic building information and whole-building energy use and share their benchmarking scores annually with the city using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online tool offered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Building data should be submitted by May 1 each year (unless notified otherwise).

Whole-building energy use refers to electricity, natural gas and other fuels, and includes both common spaces and tenant-occupied spaces. Outdated HVAC systems, porous window seals, or poor insulation can all result in both financial waste, as well as the majority of Orlando’s air pollution.


This benchmarking data is shared in an annual city report and online mapping tool analyzing the energy and water use of within the City of Orlando.

View the transparency map

Audits or Retro-commissioning

As of December 2020, operators of buildings with scores under the national average of 50 are required to perform an energy audit or choose to perform a retro-commissioning of their base building systems once every five years. The free OUC utility audit and free Duke Energy audit are both eligible for compliance.

Why is transparency of energy use important?

A building’s energy efficiency score is similar to a miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating for cars or nutritional labels for food. This information provides important data for tenants and investors when deciding where to live and work.

The city believes that benchmarking is an important best management practice and public disclosure of building energy performance promotes transparency and accountability. Sharing benchmarking data on a large scale will open conversation among all stakeholders and allow everyone to work toward common energy goals by recognizing and rewarding efficiency.

View the transparency map by clicking here

BEWES & the City Energy Project

BEWES was developed through Orlando’s participation in the City Energy Project, a national initiative to create healthier and more prosperous American cities by improving the energy efficiency of large buildings.

Together, with the other participating cities, this partnership serves to create multiple complementary strategies and energy efficiency solutions that are unique, flexible and serve to support the following goals: promote efficient building operations, promote transparency, encourage private investment and show city leadership.

Read more about Orlando’s City Energy Project.

Reporting whole-building energy use

  1. Determine eligibility and retrieve building ID(XLSX, 42KB)
    Any city-owned building above 10,000 gross square feet and any commercial or multifamily building above 50,000 gross square feet is required to obtain their energy benchmarking score (1 – 100).

    (XLSX, 42KB)
  2. Identify a benchmarking leader
    Designate a building staff member or third-party partner to be your primary point of contact. The lead may be the building owner or other designated third-party, such as a property manager, or a third-part energy consultant.


  3. Create an ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account
    This free, online tool from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses building characteristics and energy and water consumption information to produce an energy consumption score. For guidance, read the Portfolio Manager Quick Start Guide and review the list of property types and details to identify yours.

  4. Obtain monthly whole-building energy and water data for the compliance year
    To obtain data use, contact your utility service provider:

    - Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) - or 407.423.9018
    - Duke Energy - or 407.629.1010

    Natural gas:
    - To obtain your natural data use, view your Tampa Electric Company (TECO) account, or create an online account, at For assistance, reach out to or 866.832.6249

    Buildings with multiple tenants and those who are employing a third-party partner to complete benchmarking may need to complete and submit the tenant authorization forms below. Your utility company will confirm whether or not this step is necessary for your specific building.
    OUC data authorization form(PDF, 244KB)
    Duke data authorization form(PDF, 244KB)
    TECO data authorization form(PDF, 182KB)

    *Note: It is strongly recommended that building water use is benchmarked, in addition to electricity and natural gas use.

  5. Connect your Property to the Building Energy Analysis Manager (BEAM)
    When logged into your ESPM account, go to the Sharing tab. Select Share (or Edit Access to) a Property in the upper left and then select the properties you want to share with City of Orlando Annual Reporting. Then select “Personalize Sharing & Exchange Data” under Choose Permissions and click continue. On the next screen, choose Exchange Data for each property. Finally choose “Read Only Access” for Property, All Meter and Goals, Improvements. You can select None for Recognition if preferred. For Share Forward select “No” and then click Apply Selection & Authorize Exchange.

    You will receive a confirmation email within an hour once the property share request has been accepted (note if you do not get an email, please check your “spam” or “junk” folder for it. If missing, contact the Help Desk).

    These instructions can also be found in our Compliance Guide(PDF, 2MB).

  6. Report data to the City of Orlando
    Once you've entered your building data and run the data quality check, the connection between your ESPM account and BEAM will automatically import the data for submission to the City of Orlando.


  7. Benchmarking Data Transparency
    The collected data will be included in an annual city report and online mapping tool analyzing the energy and water use of within the City of Orlando. Reports will include the following information:
    - Descriptive information, including property address, use type and gross floor area
    - Energy output information - 
            - site energy use intensity (site EUI)
            - weather normalized source energy use intensity (source EUI)
            - total annual greenhouse gas emissions
            - the ENERGY STAR score, where available
    - Ordinance compliance or noncompliance status

Costs and improvements to properties

There is no out-of-pocket cost associated with ordinance compliance. The ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free, online tool. Also, there is no requirement for buildings to make an investment or improve their performance over any period of time.

Energy audits

Buildings that receive a score below 50 are required to perform an energy audit or a retro-commissioning service to better understand their building performance and cost saving opportunities, minimize our energy waste, and maximize cost savings. 

Free energy audits provided by OUC and Duke Energy will be eligible for compliance, meaning that there are no out-of-pocket expense to comply with the BEWES policy.


Those who have not complied by the deadline will be notified by the city and identified as non-compliant in an annual report and Orlando’s public benchmarking map.


Benchmarking is not required if you own an individual building less than 50,000 square feet OR if any of the following apply to your building

(a) it meets any of the exemptions defined for a covered city property.

(b) the director determines that, due to special circumstances unique to the facility and not based on a condition caused by actions of the applicant, strict compliance with provisions of this ordinance would cause undue hardship.  

(c) the property qualifies as having a financial hardship. 

(d) the property is considered "industry," "manufacturing-intensive services," or is part of a theme park. (Warehouses used for light manufacturing, storage, and/or distribution of goods are not exempt.)

  • To claim this exemption, please submit a copy of your certificate of use.
  • To obtain a copy of the certificate of use, visit this page.

(e) substantially all of the such non-city property is used for telecommunications infrastructure. 

(f) more than three meters are associated with the property and

(i) the electric utility does not provide whole-building data aggregation services. 
(ii) the owner doesn't have access to master meters or any other means.

If you qualify to be exempt, please fill out the exemption request form

Other considerations

Financial hardship
Financial hardship refers to a property that is currently experiencing any of the following:

  • Had arrears of property taxes, water or waste water charges that resulted in the property's inclusion, within two years prior to the due date of a summary audit/retro-commissioning report, on the Orange County Property Appraiser's annual tax lien sale list.
  • Has a court appointed receiver is in control of the asset due to financial distress.
  • Is owned by a financial institution through default by the borrower.
  • Has been acquired by a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
  • Has a senior mortgage subject to a notice of default.

Single building with multiple owners
Covered buildings with multiple owners, including condominiums, must benchmark, verify, and report for the entire building. Only one report is required per property and in cases where a building has multiple owners, managers, and/or agents, all are encouraged to collaborate to ensure that one annual report is submitted.

Multiple buildings with shared energy systems
If multiple buildings (at least one of which is covered by the ordinance) share one or more energy-consuming systems (ex: boilers, electricity meters, district chilled water, etc.), they may benchmark, verify, and report as a single property across the entire combined floor area of all affected buildings.  

Possible exception: If the separate buildings are sub-metered, or if it’s possible to make reasonable calculations/assumptions to allocate energy use to each individual building, the building(s) may benchmark, verify, and report separately. Benchmarking each building separately may be the best option if a covered building shares energy-consuming systems with a building that would not otherwise be covered by the ordinance (i.e. a 75,000 sq. ft. building that is covered shares a boiler with an adjacent 25,000 sq. ft. building that is not covered). This may also be the best option if the buildings in question are owned and/or managed separately.  

If a building makes an assumption to allocate energy consumption for a shared system, it must be made in good faith and should be reviewed during the required data verification process.  

Note: If multiple buildings with the same owner (such as a campus or multi-building complex) have separate energy consuming systems, any covered buildings (that meet size and use type requirements) should benchmark separately. 

Tracking common areas' energy use separately from tenants' use
In addition to aggregated energy use data, Portfolio Manager allows for the user to track any gas or electric account through separate meters within a given building. However, the individual completing the benchmarking will need to ensure that there is no duplicated usage in the data reported to the city. Any requests for whole-building usage data from the utility will already include any common area space.

Reporting attached parking garages
When a parking garage is directly attached to a building, the square footage should not be included in gross floor area, since Portfolio Manager focuses on the energy use of the building interior. For example, the size of a building with 100,000 sq. ft. of office space and 20,000 sq. ft. of parking would be entered as 100,000 square feet into Portfolio Manager. Users may be prompted to enter information on parking area, but it will not count towards the gross floor area.

Standalone parking garages 
In the case of a detached parking garage, EPA recommends that it is categorized as “Other” building type when creating the building profile in Portfolio Manager. The benchmarker should not select “My building’s energy use includes parking areas.” Instead, the total square footage of the garage (i.e., including parking spaces) should be entered as the covered area of the building. This will prevent any erroneous error messages throughout the benchmarking process.

Download the BEWES Compliance Guide(PDF, 2MB)

Guides and Information on ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

The EPA has several easy-to-use guides for using Portfolio Manager's free, online tool.

Training Classes

For hands-on training in a classroom setting, attend one of our in-person benchmarking and ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager training courses, provided in partnership with USGBC Florida. 

Can't make it to one of our in-person trainings?