Climate change, population growth, and increasing peak electricity demand highlight the importance of the sustainable use of energy in our communities. Residential and commercial buildings account for almost 40% of the total energy use in the United States, putting building energy efficiency among the main objectives for energy planning and policy. To reinforce their sustainable energy plans, many cities across the United States have adopted energy transparency ordinances in recent years. The data released under these energy benchmarking laws enable researchers to investigate the performance of residential and commercial buildings. Using these data sources, many studies have been performed, notably to help municipalities meet their energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction goals. The main goal of this work is to present a comprehensive review of the energy benchmarking policies across the United States to pool together the lessons that were learnt. In particular, the work reviews the characteristics and implementation of the building energy benchmarking laws, it identifies the benefits of adopting energy transparency laws, and it assesses the potential challenges that can hinder their effective use.
Keywords energy benchmarking, sustainability, building, energy policy, energy transparency