The City of Indianapolis took a major step forward in their sustainability mission this summer by adding the Benchmarking and Transparency Ordinance to their governing City-County code. As a seasoned implementer of benchmarking programs, Indianapolis enlisted CEE to help shape this key program. CEE will provide training, technical assistance, and outreach to set the City of Indianapolis on track to mitigate emissions from large commercial and multifamily buildings.
Leading by example
The benchmarking policy will reduce energy waste and enhance comfort across Indianapolis’s built environment. Once in effect, it will require buildings 50,000 square feet and larger to disclose energy and water consumption to the City. This requirement will also apply to City-owned buildings of at least 25,000 square feet. These data will be made public in 2026 to provide transparency to both current and future owners and tenants in the City.
This policy was born out of the Thrive Indianapolis sustainability master plan to create a more resilient and sustainable Indianapolis by 2030. Indianapolis is one of many cities across the U.S. who are taking advanced action against climate change by participating in the American Cities Climate Challenge. Benchmarking policies in other participating cities, like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Atlanta, have seen reductions in energy consumption of 1-3% annually.
CEE brings benchmarking expertise
CEE’s clients have a proven track record of success in benchmarking, including Minnesota’s three largest cities of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Rochester. CEE’s experience is that no two cities are alike. Each plan must be tailored to a city’s unique needs and assets to foster community engagement.
The new policy in Indianapolis will come into effect after a voluntary benchmarking year. This long runway to launch the program should help make the future mandatory program more successful. It will provide the City with the opportunity to identify data to collect, partners to recruit, activities that will need to be supported, and materials to train benchmarking properties in the future.
CEE will assist with creating a program plan and match needs to those who could serve as program assets, such as utility providers, local architects, and contractors. The voluntary benchmarking year will support planning for subsequent years when buildings need to comply, from informing the process to setting data standards to establishing ongoing communications strategies for energy efficiency campaigns.