Requirements for building owners to benchmark energy performance and disclose that information to the market have been passed in a number of U.S. cities and states in recent years. To help increase awareness of and compliance with these new laws, cities are conducting broad outreach, education, and training activities aimed at supporting building owners, managers, and other affected parties.

A crucial component of these efforts in both New York City and Seattle was the creation of a benchmarking help center. These help centers generally consisted of trained staff available by phone and e-mail to provide direct assistance to building owners, managers, service providers, and others. They proved to be critical not only in providing general and technical assistance, but also in allaying concerns of building owners and managers, expanding outreach capacity, and improving data quality and compliance rates.

Help center staff answered questions on a range of topics, including use of and troubleshooting in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, the law and requirements for compliance, submittal of information to the city, acquiring and uploading data from utilities, and getting assistance from third-party service providers.

This guide shares recommendations for establishing a benchmarking help center based on experiences and lessons learned in New York City and Seattle.

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