Demystifying New Jersey's
Utility Benchmarking Order

New Jersey’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility has taken a significant step forward with the implementation of the Utility Benchmarking Order. This regulation, affecting buildings over 25,000 square feet, aims to reduce energy consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance energy efficiency.

Understanding the Utility Benchmarking Order

The Utility Benchmarking Order, officially known as BPU Docket No. EO21030234, was adopted by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in response to the state’s ambitious clean energy goals. The order mandates that non-residential buildings over 25,000 square feet must annually benchmark their energy and water usage. Benchmarking is the process of measuring a building’s energy and water consumption and comparing it to similar buildings to identify opportunities for improvement.

Key Components of the Benchmarking Order
  • The order applies to non-residential buildings, including commercial, industrial, and institutional structures, that exceed 25,000 square feet in gross floor area.
  • Some exceptions include manufacturing and industrial buildings, government-owned facilities, and specific types of buildings not primarily used for human occupancy.
Benchmarking Tools:
  • Building owners are required to use the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager or an equivalent benchmarking tool approved by the BPU. 
  • These tools help track and assess energy and water consumption, providing a basis for comparison with similar buildings.
Reporting Deadlines:
  • Building owners must annually report their benchmarking data to the BPU, starting from the first calendar year following the order’s adoption.
  • The exact deadlines for reporting may vary and will be communicated by the BPU.

Public Disclosure:

  • One of the significant aspects of the order is the requirement for building owners to disclose their benchmarking results to the public. This information will be made available on a public online platform.
Benefits of Compliance

Complying with the Utility Benchmarking Order offers several advantanges to New Jersey businesses:

  • Cost Savings: By identifying areas of inefficiency, businesses can make targeted improvements to reduce energy and water consumption, leading to lower utility bills.
  • Environmental Impact: Reduced energy consumption means a smaller carbon footprint, contributing to New Jersey’s clean energy goals and global efforts to combat climate change.
  • Competitive Advantage: Businesses that invest in in energy efficiency and sustainability can better attract customers and investors.
  • Data Driven Decision Making: Benchmarking data provides valuable insights that can inform strategic decisions about building improvements and upgrades.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with the Utility Benchmarking Order is essential to avoid fines and penalties. 
New Jersey’s Utility Benchmarking Order is a forward-thinking regulation that balances economic and environmental considerations. It offers a pathway for businesses to become not just compliant, but also more competitive and sustainable. As climate change becomes an increasingly pressing issue, such initiatives help transition toward a more sustainable future. Navigating the complexities of this order may seem daunting, but help is available. Contact HRG for expert assistance in managing your ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account and for comprehensive guidance in filing your annual benchmarking report.


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