Department of Energy and CoStar partner to expand visibility of benchmark data

Elizabeth Beardsley

This week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and CoStar Group announced a new partnership to bring building energy data to the most widely used commercial real estate databases in the United States. The announcement underscores the value of data to drive market transformation.

This important milestone complements and supports ongoing efforts, such as the Green Building Information Gateway and the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), to empower stakeholders to understand the performance of projects, buildings and entire companies. 

Under the Memorandum of Understanding, both organizations will support the visibility of energy-efficient commercial buildings through the initiative to display building energy efficiency information in CoStar Group’s online property databases and marketplaces. CoStar Group will display certain energy-related information that is already being made publicly accessible by state and local governments that have adopted building energy transparency laws. Currently, 16 cities and a growing number of states require reporting of energy use by covered public or private and public buildings. This information will include, where available, Energy Star score, whole building source energy usage intensity and annual greenhouse gas emissions.

The planned expansion into benchmarking data builds on the original, groundbreaking efforts in 2006 by USGBC and CoStar to elevate the visibility of energy and sustainability distinctions by tagging commercial properties with LEED certifications. This move enabled definitive research, with key CoStar studies finding, for example, that sustainable green buildings outperform their nongreen peer assets in key areas such as occupancy, sale price and rental rates, sometimes by wide margins.

As the databases incorporate benchmarking data over time, DOE and CoStar Group will support new research to evaluate the impact of energy efficiency and sustainability on real estate valuation; building operating income and expenses; tenant health, comfort, and productivity; and other topics. USGBC looks forward to collaborating with DOE and CoStar on this critical work, and forging new insights and understanding from the metrics.

DOE and CoStar also agreed to promote Better Buildings and the solutions of market-leading Better Buildings partners. USGBC is a Better Buildings Affiliate Partner.

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