Data is only useful when put to use. Across the U.S., an ever-growing number of state and local jurisdictions are implementing building performance reporting laws regarding building energy and water use in the commercial and multifamily sectors. This wealth of performance information is not yet being deployed to its full potential to drive smarter business decisions and increase energy savings.

Recognizing that this information can help advance energy efficiency in cities, in 2015 the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) partnered with New York City and the District of Columbia and local groups, NYCEEC and the District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility, on a three-year project to understand and document how, exactly, this data can and should be integrated to reap an array of benefits for cities, energy efficiency service providers, utilities, and building owners.

This paper examines how local governments, utilities, and program implementers can replicate the success of DC and NYC. It summarizes the findings from the Cities’ and their partners’ efforts to fully understand the datasets, overcome integration challenges, and apply the data to visual engagement, strategic outreach, evidence-based policymaking, and retrofit project identification and deployment. The paper goes beyond theoretical discussion by outlining practical application of data using specific examples from NYC and DC, summarizing challenges and findings, and highlighting next steps for other jurisdictions to learn from and build off the work done in those jurisdictions.

Published in August 2018, this paper was complementary to IMT’s Putting Data to Work toolkit that was released in February 2018.


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