City of Los Angeles: Existing Buildings Energy & Water Efficiency (EBEWE) ordinance

Angelenos are striving to exceed California’s building efficiency rules. So, in order to lower the use of energy, water and greenhouse gas emissions citywide, the City of Los Angeles’ Building Department now requires existing commercial and multi-family buildings 20,000 square feet and over, to be: benchmarked, audited, retro-commissioned and retrofitted.

Benchmarking reports must be submitted annually to verify reductions in energy and water use starting in 2019. Audits and retro-commissioning must be updated every 5 years starting Jan 2020. All must be supervised and certified by a California licensed professional engineer (PE). Noncompliant properties are subject to penalties and fines which could hinder real estate transactions and financing.

3 Steps for Compliance



Setup, enter and import data to Energy Star. Get reviewed by Licensed Pro



Requires Advanced Level 2 Energy & Water Audit by Licensed Pro



Requires Advanced Level 2 Retro-commissioning by Licensed Pro

Step 1: Energy & Water Benchmarking

A benchmarking report (generated by the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software), summarizing the annual energy and water performance of a building, is now required to be certified by a licensed professional engineer and submitted annually for all privately owned buildings 20,000 sq. ft. and above.

Note: The square footage requirement pertains to an entire building, not a parcel. i.e. multiple buildings on a single parcel added together exceeding 20,000 sq. ft. would not require compliance.

Step 2: Energy & Water Audits

All buildings over 20,000 sq. ft. must have a Level 2 Energy & Water Audit and ASHRAE compliant Retro-commissioning services completed every 5 years and certified by a CA Licensed professional engineer.

What is an Energy & Water Audit?

  • ASHRAE Level 1 audit is a walkthrough assessment. Typical providers include utilities, equipment vendors and Calif Conservation Corps students. 3fficient offers a free level 1 energy audit online that leverages national datasets and proprietary modeling and cost data.
  • ASHRAE Level 2 audit (minimum required by EBEWE) is provides in-depth identification and documentation of a building’s energy and water-use equipment, operations and calculated energy and water use compared to detailed historical (baseline) consumption. This audit examines existing conditions to pinpoint operational and capital improvements for energy and water efficiency. 3fficient has provided these audits to thousands of customers in all markets. Click here for a free quote.
  • ASHRAE Level 3 audit (allowable by EBEWE) is significantly more involved, using detailed building and equipment simulation software to more accurately model projected utility savings along and capital costs. This is often referred to an investment grade audit used for larger, more complex buildings or campuses where financial risks are higher. Click here for a free quote.

Note: If you plan to use any audit for planning or investing in your facility, it should always be conducted by experienced technicians and professional engineers, like those at 3fficient, with appropriate Association of Energy Engineer Certifications. “Audits” by others are typically not worth the paper they are printed on resulting in inferior or negative results.

Step 3. Retro-commissioning (RCx)

All buildings subject to energy and water audits are also subject to retro-commissioning services certified by a CA licensed professional engineer.

What is Retro-commissioning? Retro-commissioning is a professional operational assessment along with the necessary corrections focused on the maintenance and repairs identified by the Level 2 or 3 Audit. Think of it as professional engineers examining and assisting with minor changes and process improvements to make your building systems perform the way they were intended to (not necessarily the way “they always have”).

3fficient’s licensed engineers are fully qualified to provide all services or exemptions required by Los Angeles EBEWE law.

Get Compliant NOW! It’s fast and easy with 3fficient.

City Filing Fees Apply:

LA charges administrative filing fees. 3fficient reports are guaranteed compliant with city filing requirements and only need only owner signature and appropriate filing fee added for submission.

  • Annual Disclosure Compliance Fee (Sec. 91.9710.1) City will charge the building owner $61 for each Annual Benchmarking Report submitted to the Department.
  • Audit and Retro-Commissioning Compliance Fee (Sec. 91.9710.2) City will charge the building owner $183 for each Confirmation of Audit and Retro-Commissioning submitted to the Department during a five year compliance cycle.

Failure to comply with this ordinance shall subject the building owner to noncompliance fees (specified in Section 98.0411 of the LA Municipal Code) that may also impact financing or other property-related transactions.