Building Energy Savings Program

The City of Madison adopted the new Building Energy Savings program (BESP) in March 2023 to improve energy efficiency in large commercial buildings community-wide through energy benchmarking and tune-ups. The program has two requirements:

  1. All non-residential commercial buildings 25,000 square feet or more are required to benchmark energy use annually using EPA's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  
  2. All non-residential commercial buildings 50,000 square feet or more are also required to complete a building tune-up every four years.

The program will phase in over time with buildings beginning compliance according to their size as show in the table below.

Building Size (gross floor area)First Benchmarking YearFirst Tune-up Year
Large buildings:  >100,000 square feet20242025
Medium buildings:  50,000 - 99,999 square feet20252026
Small buildings:  25,000 - 49,999 square feet2026Not required

Reporting Deadlines

The 2024 reporting deadline for benchmarking has been extended until September 6. Only large commercial buildings (>100,000 square feet) are required to benchmark energy use in 2024. 

In future years, the reporting deadline for benchmarking will be June 30, and the reporting deadline for tune-ups will be October 31.

Program Launch Timeline

  1. Covered Buildings List Available Upcoming

    The City will make available the list of buildings >100,000 square feet and larger that are required to begin benchmarking in 2024. 

  2. Building Owner Portal Available Upcoming

    Building owners will have access to the online platform that will guide them through the process of benchmarking and reporting. The platform will include training materials and a help desk.

  3. Virtual Trainings Upcoming

    The City will host a series of virtual training sessions that walk participants through the benchmarking and reporting process. Information about each training session, including how to register, will be posted on this page.

  4. September 6, 2024 Upcoming

  5. Building Reports Provided Upcoming

    The City will provide customized reports and recommendations for building owners and managers, including information on resources building owners can use to improve energy performance such as rebates, incentives, and financing.

Program Basics

Energy benchmarking is simply measuring and tracking annual energy use. Importantly, benchmarking does not require a building to meet a prescribed level of energy use. Rather, the information that benchmarking provides helps building owners and managers make more informed decisions about building operations and actions to save energy and money.

Similar to tuning up a car, building tune-ups check and adjust building energy systems, like lighting and HVAC controls, once every four years to make sure existing systems are performing at their best without wasting energy. For a tune-up, a qualified professional, which could be current building staff, assesses a building’s existing energy systems, controls, and maintenance practices and performs no- to low- cost operational adjustments, maintenance, or minor repairs that improve system performance and save energy. Importantly, tune-ups are not focused on major upgrades to buildings or building equipment. Rather, tune-ups aim to ensure the existing equipment is running as intended.

Benchmarking and tune-ups save energy, reduce utility bills, provide a more comfortable space for occupants, and reduce carbon and air pollution that negatively impact public health and the environment. Reducing annual energy use in buildings covered by this program by 10 to 15% will cut carbon emissions by an estimated 91,257 to 136,886 tons per year. That’s the equivalent of taking 17,838 to 26,757 cars off the road.

Check out the FAQ for detailed answers to many of the most common questions about the program, and reach out to the Sustainability and Resilience team for more information.

Additional Program Materials

Building Energy Savings code
March 7, 2023
Adopted Code
Staff Memo
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
July 14, 2023
Two-Page Program Summary
March 5, 2024
BESP Summary
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