On Tuesday, the Common Council adopted the Building Energy Savings Program to reduce carbon pollution from large commercial buildings. The program requires owners of large nonresidential commercial buildings to annually track their energy use through “energy benchmarking” and to tune-up their building’s energy systems every four years. Like tuning up a car or bike, building tune-ups check and adjust a building’s existing systems, like lighting and HVAC, to make sure they are operating at their best and not wasting energy. Adjustments include simple things like updating heating and cooling schedules. The program is focused on optimizing building operations and does not require installing new systems or replacing any functioning equipment.

The Building Energy Savings Program is an important step forward in reducing climate pollution and meeting Madison’s goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions community-wide by 2050. Today, commercial buildings account for 30% of the Madison’s carbon pollution. Benchmarking and tune-ups have proven track records of saving businesses energy and money on their bills. In fact, the Building Energy Savings Program could cut carbon pollution by more than 91,000 tons per year. That’s the same impact as taking 18,000 cars off the road.

City staff have worked with alders, the business community, non-profits, building energy and management experts, and others for two years to develop the program. With the policy in place, City staff will continue to collaborate with the Madison community to develop program guidance and provide education, training, and support for building owners and managers. Both actions will be phased in over time, with the first benchmarking deadline in June 2024 and the first tune-up deadline in October 2025.

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our era, and everybody needs be part of the solution,” says Mayor Rhodes-Conway. “By enacting the Building Energy Savings Program, we are working with covered building owners take common-sense actions to save energy. This is good for the climate, it saves businesses money on their bills, and supports green jobs.”

District 13 Alder Tag Evers is one of the sponsors of the adopting legislation. “This program is focused on proven, cost-effective strategies that bring multiple benefits,” Alder Evers stated. “This program will not only help businesses save energy and money, it means cleaner air and a more climate resilient future for all Madisonians.”

Alders Regina Vidaver, Grant Foster, Keith Furman, Sabrina Madison, Juliana Bennett, Barbara Vedder, Erik Paulson, Yannette Figueroa Cole, Patrick Heck, and Mike Verveer were also sponsors of the legislation, along with Mayor Rhodes-Conway.


  • Christie Baumel, (608) 266-4611
Mayor's Office