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 Long Steps to Compliance or 1 Easy call


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.

1. Unoccupied with no certificate of occupancy or under renovation for entire measurement year.
2. Demolition permit issued AND demolition work has commenced on or before benchmarking report is due for compliance.
3. No energy or water service to building for ENTIRE benchmark year.

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”).

  1. The building has already received Energy Star Certification from the EPA for the year of the building’s compliance due date, or for two of the three years preceding the building’s compliance due date.
  2. For buildings not eligible to receive an Energy Star score, the energy performance of the building must be 25% better than the national median energy performance of similar buildings. Energy performance calculations and comparisons are generated by Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
  3. A CA licensed engineers certifies that the building has reduced its weather normalized source Energy Use Intensity (EUI) by 15% when compared to the five years before a building’s compliance due date.
  4. A building without a central cooling system has completed four of six energy efficiency measures listed in the EBEWE guidelines within the 5 year compliance cycle being reported.
  1. A CA licensed engineer certifies that the building has reduced its water use intensity by at least 20% (compared to the five years prior to the building’s compliance due date).
  2. Buildings without central cooling systems that have completed two of three water efficiency measures listed in the EBEWE guidelines within the 5 year compliance cycle being reported.
  3. A CA licensed engineer certifies that the building’s water use conforms to the LA Municipal and Title 24 Code in effect at any time during the five year compliance cycle.
  4. The building is new and has been occupied for less than five years from its occupancy date based on the Temporary or final Certificate of Occupancy.

3fficient’s licensed professionals 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.