Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What does using Portfolio Manager cost?

There is no cost associated with using Portfolio Manager or requesting aggregated or nonaggregated data from SDG&E.

Q:  Can more than one person have access to the Portfolio Manager account?

When setting up your organization’s account, you can use your own contact information or general contact information for your organization. Whether you use individual or organizational information, we recommend that only one person be responsible for uploading data each month to prevent inconsistencies or duplicate data entry. However, it is advisable to have at least two or more people within your organization capable of accessing the account (i.e., know the login credentials) in case the person in charge of reporting utility data leaves your organization.

Q:  Can I add properties to an existing account?

Portfolio Manager is designed so that your account can have multiple properties. If you need guidance on updating data for an existing property in Portfolio Manager, or are not sure what you should do with the existing property or properties in your account, please contact a Benchmarking Coach.

Q:  How do I delete a property?

Deleting a property is permanent, so be sure that you want to delete the property before you begin this process. Go to the “My Portfolio” tab. Under the box with the list of properties in your account, chose the name of the property to delete. Once you go to the “Property Level” view, click the “Details” tab. Scroll to the bottom of the page where you will see the button “Delete this Property” in the left corner of the screen. Note the information bulletin that states “deleting your property is permanent and cannot be undone.” If you are sure you want to delete it, click “Delete this Property.” A pop-up will appear confirming your decision. If you are certain, click “Continue.” If you are unsure, click “Cancel.” You will go back to the “My Portfolio” tab and, if you deleted the property, should see a green notification box at the top of the screen saying that you have deleted the property you selected from your portfolio.

Q:  What property types can I input into Portfolio Manager?

Portfolio Manager is a powerful tool and contains more than 80 property types to choose from when setting up your property. Download the list of Portfolio Manager property types, definitions and use details (PDF). Choose a property type that best describes how most of your building functions.

If you are unsure of the most appropriate property type for your building(s), please contact a Benchmarking Coach.

Q:  How can I request my energy data from SDG&E?

Both aggregated and nonaggregated data requests require customers to complete the following steps.

  1. Connect and share your property(ies) in Portfolio Manager with SDG&E Benchmarking
  2. Request building metrics through SDG&E’s benchmarking data request portal

Read the Benchmarking Data Request Portal User Guide to learn more about the process. More information and a link to the portal is available on SDG&E's Benchmarking webpage.

Q:  Does SDG&E update the info every month if I give them full access?

Yes. If you request recurring data uploads during the request process, SDG&E will update data monthly.

SDG&E’s portal uploads data by calendar month, not by billing period, so you may need to adjust any historical entries in your account to resolve data overlaps and gaps. Need help? Contact a Benchmarking Coach to obtain assistance.

Q:  What is AB 802?

Assembly Bill (AB) 802 is California Legislation requiring building owners to track facility energy use through an online tool, a process referred to as energy benchmarking. Building owners use the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA's) ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to publicly disclose their energy use and ENERGY STAR performance rating.

Q:  Where can I get more information regarding this program?

The California Energy Commission’s benchmarking page includes a general overview, as well as frequently asked questions and training materials regarding the program at

Q:  When does the law take effect?

For disclosable buildings with no residential utility accounts, reporting is due on an annual basis as of June 2018. For disclosable buildings with 17 or more residential utility accounts, reporting is due by June 1, 2019, and annually thereafter on June 1.

Q:  What is benchmarking?

Benchmarking is tracking your property’s performance against a standard. With this program, you’ll be dividing your energy use by the square footage of your building to identify "efficiency." The resulting number will act as a baseline score to compare your efficiency to previous years or to similar buildings.

Q:  What is the value to me of an energy benchmark?

Energy benchmarking helps to measure the performance of your building and lets you know how efficient or inefficient it may be. A significant portion of a company’s operating expenses goes toward energy bills, and energy efficiency improvements can sometimes reduce these costs substantially. The phrase "you can't manage what you don't measure" directly applies; when you must measure and track the energy efficiency of your building, you are more likely to take action to reduce use if energy costs are above average.

Q:  What are the benefits of benchmarking?

Benchmarking can prioritize energy-efficiency investments, track energy-efficiency improvements over time and gain you EPA recognition.

Q:  Am I required to comply?

You are required to comply if your building has more than 50,000 square feet of gross floor area and either no residential utility accounts or more than 16 residential utility accounts. These are referred to as “disclosable” buildings.

Q:  Are there any exemptions to the reporting requirement?

You are not required to report benchmarking to the Energy Commission if your property meets any of the following conditions.

  • Your building is a condominium.
  • Your building has between 1 to 16 residential utility accounts.
  • Your building did not have a certificate of occupancy or temporary certificate of occupancy for more than half of the calendar year for which reporting to the Energy Commission is required.
  • Your building is scheduled to be demolished one year or less from the reporting date.
  • Your building has over half of the total area used for scientific experiments, manufacturing or industrial purposes.
  • Your building was benchmarked pursuant to a local program listed on the Energy Commission’s benchmarking website.

Q:  What is considered industrial?

Industrial properties include spaces adapted for uses like assemblage, processing and/or manufacturing products from raw materials or fabricated parts.

Warehouses and distribution centers are not considered industrial and are required to comply.

Q:  Is compliance required for government-owned buildings?

Only buildings owned by the federal government are exempt; compliance is required for all other government-owned buildings.

Q:  Is compliance required for strip malls or open-air shopping centers?

Compliance is required for each individual building that has more than 50,000 square feet of gross floor area. Separate buildings that have the appearance of being a single building due to a continuous façade should be treated as individual buildings. If a single building within a strip mall or open-air shopping center encompasses over 50,000 square feet, then that individual building must comply.

Q:  Does my building square footage include parking areas?

When calculating your square footage in determining if you’re required to comply, covered parking structures should be included while open and uncovered parking lots should be excluded. When entering your gross floor area into Portfolio Manager, there’s a separate field for parking so you can separate the parking area from your self-reported area.

Q:  How do I comply?

There are five general steps required to comply.

  1. Open an account in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
  2. Enter each disclosable building into your account.
  3. Enter your energy use data.
  4. Click the appropriate reporting link on the Energy Commission’s benchmarking page (, which will direct you to log in to Portfolio Manager.
  5. Submit your report within Portfolio Manager.

Q:  What resources are available to help me comply?

The Energy Commission’s benchmarking webpage ( includes step-by-step guidelines, training materials with videos and frequently asked questions. The Energy Commission’s Benchmarking Hotline is also available to answer any questions at 855-279-6460 or by emailing For questions and training regarding the use of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, visit the EPA’s Portfolio Manager website. 

For building owners within San Diego County, you can contact a Benchmarking Coach at

Q:  Who can prepare the report or send the data?

Anyone can open an ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account and create the report. The EPA offers training videos and guides, and there are step-by-step instructions on the Energy Commission’s benchmarking website. Some building owners or managers may choose to have internal staff to manage the account and submit reports, while others may hire an external service provider.

Q:  Can you do it for me?

No, the SDRGBN and the Benchmarking Coach program do not prepare Portfolio Manager accounts or reporting. We train business owners on how to benchmark energy usage as a way to help you become more aware of your energy use. If you prefer not to manage it yourself, you can hire an ENERGY STAR partner who offers energy benchmarking services.

Q:  How do I know if I’ve successfully submitted the report and have complied?

After submitting the compliance report through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, you’ll receive an email from ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to confirm your entry.

Q:  By when do I need to complete this?

Reporting is due annually on June 1 for disclosable buildings with no residential utility accounts beginning in 2018, and by June 1, 2019, for disclosable buildings with 17 or more residential utility accounts. Reporting continues annually after the first report, due June 1 each year.

Q:  How often must I report to the California Energy Commission?

Reporting continues annually after the first report, due June 1 every year. Since buildings generally don't change a lot, most owners will not have to collect new data after the first year. The only new information to collect is how much energy you used last year. To make it easy, there are ways to automatically have your energy bills go into ENERGY STAR, so you might just have to only click a button to submit data the second year.

Q:  What happens to the information provided to the California Energy Commission?

The first year of data for each group of disclosable buildings (2018 for buildings with no residential accounts, and 2019 for buildings with 17 or more residential utility accounts) will not be publicly disclosed. Beginning in the second year for each group, information reported each year will be publicly disclosed to allow current and prospective building owners and tenants to better understand the buildings in which they live and work.

Q:  Is the public reporting intended to shame property owners for high energy use?

No. The Energy Commission hopes this information will help current and prospective building owners and occupants make better-informed decisions regarding purchasing, leasing, maintenance and upgrades.

Q:  What building information will be made public?

The Energy Commission may make the following information available.

  • Building address, including county, latitude and longitude
  • Year built
  • Gross floor area and property floor area (buildings and parking)
  • Property or building name, if any
  • Open “comments” field for the building owner or owner’s agent to provide additional information about the building
  • ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager property ID
  • Percentage of space occupied (occupancy) and number of occupants
  • Number of buildings (if served by one common energy meter without submetering)
  • ENERGY STAR score for eligible buildings
  • Monthly and/or annual site and/or source energy used by energy type
  • Monthly and/or annual weather-normalized site and/or source energy use intensity
  • Monthly and/or annual peak electricity demand
  • Total greenhouse gas emissions

Q:  What type of information or data do I need?

Benchmarking requires building characteristic information, occupancy information and energy use data.

Q:  What sources of energy are to be reported?

Electricity, natural gas, steam and fuel oil consumption are required. However, Portfolio Manager also includes fields for propane and other forms of energy that you can input and track.

Q:  What information is required for submission and compliance?

Basic building and ownership information is needed, such as name of the owner, address and contact information. Further, the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager instructions list the specific required information for varying building types. Each building type has different requirements—for example, a fast food restaurant and a hospital use energy very differently and have different information that is required to collect.

To streamline the process of collecting data, you can visit the ENERGY STAR website to download a data collection worksheet of all the information you’ll need to fill out for your specific property type. Generate a data collection worksheet specific to your property type(s) at

Q:  How do I benchmark if my building was only occupied recently and doesn’t have 12 months of data?

Your building is exempt from reporting if it did not have a permanent or temporary certificate of occupancy for more than half of the calendar year being reported. Otherwise, reporting is required, and you should include as much energy use data as you have.

Q:  Is there a procedure to protect proprietary data?

Certain building owners may request that their energy usage be determined a trade secret and thus not subject to disclosure. Such an exemption must be obtained from the executive director of the Energy Commission. If it is granted, the building owner is required to report building characteristic information but not energy use data.

Q:  What is the cost of complying?

There are no fees associated with reporting your data to the Energy Commission, and ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free online tool to create the reports. However, there may be fees or costs associated with hiring an outside consultant to help you with benchmarking if you choose to not do-it-yourself.

Q:  What if the building owner does not comply?

The Energy Commission has the authority to issue fines for noncompliance, after allowing a period of 30 days to correct a violation. Building owners who have missed the June 1 reporting deadline are urged to report as soon as possible.

Q:  What if the utility customers refuse to release their energy use data to building owners?

AB 802 requires that energy utilities in California provide building-level energy use data to a building owner, owner’s agent or building operator upon request for buildings with no residential utility accounts and for buildings with five or more utility accounts, one of which is residential. These are referred to as “covered” buildings.

For covered buildings with fewer than three utility accounts of each energy type a utility provides, the utility customers of record for the accounts serving the building must provide their permission before the utility will provide energy use data. When a building owner is unable to obtain energy use data because customers did not provide permission, the building owner will comply by reporting building characteristic information but not energy use data. The Energy Commission’s benchmarking page has a link for this specific situation.

Q:  What do owners need to provide to show proof of ownership to get access to the whole building data from the utility?

A person requesting whole-building energy use data will need to provide an attestation that he or she is the building owner or is authorized to act on behalf of the building owner. Proof of ownership is not required.

Q:  What happens if I’ve requested data from the utility, but they have not yet completed my request in time for the deadline?

Please complete your submission as soon as you have received energy use data from the utility, even if the compliance deadline has passed.

Q:  Can I use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to benchmark my building if my building is less than 50,000 square feet?

Yes, you can benchmark any type and size of building in Portfolio Manager.

Q:  What if my city or county already has a benchmark reporting requirement?

There is a provision in the regulations for the state program allowing for buildings reported under a local benchmarking program to be exempted from reporting to the state. Any programs that have received such an exemption will be listed on the Energy Commission’s benchmarking page. For buildings located in jurisdictions with exempted programs, benchmarking and reporting to the local jurisdiction fulfills compliance with the state program.

Q:  Does having high energy usage result in penalties?

There aren’t any penalties for high usage. The data and information are intended to help you make informed decisions to pursue efficiency measures and equipment upgrades while improving your overall operations.

Q:  Does the Energy Commission have any recommendations to make the ongoing data tracking process easier for owners and landlords?

Industry best practices for ongoing data tracking include automating the data flow from your utility to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager on an ongoing basis to minimize data gaps and increase data quality. Engaging a utility automation provider, sustainability or energy consultant can help make the ongoing data management process easier.

Q:  What is an ENERGY STAR score?

The ENERGY STAR score is a metric from 1 to 100 that demonstrates a building’s energy efficiency compared to similar buildings. A score of 50 indicates the national average energy performance. Not all building types are eligible for an ENERGY STAR score, and an ENERGY STAR score is not required for compliance with the state’s benchmarking program.

Q:  What properties are eligible for an ENERGY STAR score?

In the United States, the following property types are eligible for an ENERGY STAR score.

  • Bank branch
  • Barracks*
  • Courthouse
  • Data center
  • Distribution center
  • Financial office
  • Office
  • Hospital (general medical & surgical)
  • Hotel
  • K-12 school
  • Medical office*
  • Multifamily housing
  • Nonrefrigerated warehouse
  • Office
  • Refrigerated warehouse
  • Residence hall/dormitory*
  • Retail store
  • Senior care community
  • Supermarket/grocery store
  • Wastewater treatment plant*
  • Wholesale club/supercenter
  • Worship facility

*Not eligible for ENERGY STAR certification but can still receive a 1-100 score

Q:  How can I improve my building's score?

Scores improve with increased energy efficiencies within the building. There may be initiatives you can pursue, including programs and rebates provided by your utility company.

Q:  Will the score impact the selling price of my building?

The impacts of benchmarking on building sales vary. While some buyers prefer to purchase a building already operating at peak energy efficiency, others may prefer a building “as is” at a lower cost and then make their own energy efficiency improvements later to increase the property’s value.

Q:  How do I know if I’m eligible for ENERGY STAR Certification?

If your property is an eligible property type and has the required data uploaded, you will see your ENERGY STAR score on the property summary tab (upper right corner). If you have an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher, you are eligible to apply for ENERGY STAR certification. See the How to Apply for ENERGY STAR Certification guide for details or email a Benchmarking Coach for further assistance.

Q:  What is the benefit of ENERGY STAR certification?

ENERGY STAR-certified buildings represent superior energy performance and are recognized nationwide as examples of energy efficiency best practices. On average, ENERGY STAR buildings use 35 percent less energy than similar buildings. They also generate more income compared to other buildings, are occupied 4 percent more than traditional buildings and offer many other benefits, including increased marketing potential. Currently, there are more than 25,000 ENERGY STAR-certified buildings.

Q:  Is there a cost for ENERGY STAR certification?

No fees are charged for ENERGY STAR certification, however, verification of your building data by a licensed professional (professional engineer or registered architect) will likely involve some cost.

This is a project of the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, which is partially funded by California utility customers and administered by San Diego Gas & Electric® (SDG&E) under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The Center for Sustainable Energy® is a member of the collaborative. Trademarks are property of their respective owners.