Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance

The Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO) was enacted by the Cambridge City Council on July 28, 2014. The ordinance is a key step in efforts to reduce Cambridge's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

Energy use in buildings accounts for about 80% of GHG emissions in Cambridge, with two-thirds of the total related to commercial, institutional, and large multifamily buildings.  Efforts to improve the energy performance of our building stock is hampered by the invisible nature of energy use. 

The ordinance is intended to address this problem by requiring owners of larger buildings to track and report annual energy use to the City and publicly disclose the data.  Disclosure places the information in the marketplace, where various users such as potential property buyers, tenants, realtors, energy service providers, and others can use the data and to help create value for higher energy performing properties.  The data will also aid the City and others in planning for higher energy performance in our building stock. 

The ordinance is a foundational strategy for various community sustainability initiatives including the Community Compact for a Sustainable Future, Kendall Square Ecodistrict, and efforts to move the community toward net zero emissions.

For questions about the ordinance and compliance: buildingenergy@cambridgema.gov.

For technical assistance via the help desk: energyhelpdesk@cambridgema.gov, 617/250-4205.

May 1 is the annual deadline to submit BEUDO reports for data covering the previous calendar year.


NEW! The 2015 Building Energy and Water Use Report is now available

2015 BEUDO Report

Check out our interactive 2015 BEUDO Compliance Map to see which properties submitted their energy and water use reports for calendar year 2014

BEUDO Compliance Map

What Does the Ordinance Require?

Building owners will be required to track their energy (i.e., electricity, natural gas, steam, and fuel oil) and water use and report it to the Community Development Department annually through the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

The web-based tool requires the user to input monthly energy and water data and building information. Portfolio Manager processes the information to show energy use intensity (i.e., energy use per square foot), greenhouse gas emissions, and other metrics. 

The first year of energy and water use data will not be disclosed, except for municipal buildings. This will give the City time to work out any problems with private building reporting and also give owners an opportunity to improve their energy performance before the first year of disclosure.

Reporting Schedule

By May 1, 2016 and thereafter 

  • Parcels with non-residential buildings singly or together contain 25,000 S. F. or greater
  • Parcels with residential buildings singly or together contain 50 or more units
  • Municipal buildings 10,000 S. F. or greater

By May 1, 2015

  • Parcels with non-residential buildings singly or together contain 50,000 S. F. or greater
  • Parcels with residential buildings singly or together contain 50 or more units
  • Municipal buildings 10,000 S. F. or greater  

By December 31, 2014

  • Municipal buildings 10,000 S. F. or greater

Who Has to Report?

  • Parcels with non-residential buildings singly or together contain 25,000 square feet or greater
  • Parcels with residential buildings singly or together contain 50 or more units
  • Municipal buildings 10,000 square feet or greater

Covered Properties Lists

The Community Development Department has developed lists of buildings that fall on parcels covered by the ordinance. The lists indicate the map-lot number, street address, and unique building identification number for each building. Under the ordinance, these buildings must be benchmarked in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and reported to the Community Development Department by each annual reporting deadline (May 1). Any questions about these buildings and the applicability of the ordinance should be submitted to the City via buildingenergy@cambridgema.gov

Please note that if you own a property that meets the Ordinance thresholds but is not listed in the covered properties lists, the owner of the buildings must still comply with the ordinance.

2016 Reporting

2015 Reporting



How to Report Your Building Energy and Water Use Data

  1. Check to see if your property is required to comply with the ordinance. 
    Property thresholds are found under the "About the Ordinance" tab and Covered Properties Lists are found under the "Who Has to Report" tab.
  2. Set up an ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account and add your property to your portfolio.
    Check out our fact sheet on Reporting and Sharing on Portfolio Manager and this handy data collection worksheet to help you get started. Make sure to enter your Cambridge Building Energy Reporting ID in the "Unique Identifiers" section under your property details (see below).
  3. Gather your energy and water use data and enter them into Portfolio Manager.
    Eversource is providing whole-building electricity and natural gas data via their energy reporting and disclosure portal. All energy sources (electricity, natural gas, oil, steam, etc.) should be reported for the previous calendar year (i.e. January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015 to comply in 2016). Water use data is available via the Cambridge Water Department website.
  4. Submit your report through our data request link.
    Instructions are provided on the page: 2016 Cambridge Building Energy and Water Use Data Request for Calendar Year 2015. Once submitted, you will receive a confirmation email from Portfolio Manager. 

Cambridge Building Energy Reporting ID

It is important to include the building ID number for each building that is reported in your Portfolio Manager account. This is a unique number for each building provided by the City that allows us to verify that reports have been received. Building ID numbers are provided on the covered properties lists (check out the "Who Has to Report" tab). They can also be identified using the Cambridge CityViewer online map. A short video about how to find a building ID number in CityViewer can be viewed by clicking here. Contact us if you have trouble finding your building ID number.

Reporting at the Building Level

Building data should be reported on a one-report-per-building basis if possible, but there are some cases where you might need to "rollup" a property and submit energy and water use data for multiple buildings in a single report. For multifamily properties, if there are multiple buildings on a single parcel, report each building separately only if there are separate meters for each building and there are 50 or more units in each building. For multiple nonresidential buildings on a single parcel with shared meters, you may either 1) submit one report as a "rollup" of all buildings and note each additional building ID in the "Property Notes" section in Portfolio Manager or 2) if the space uses are similar, prorate energy use according to square footage and submit as individual reports. If you have any questions, please contact buildingenergy@cambridgema.gov.

How to Get Building Data

  • Electricity and natural gas: Eversource has created an energy reporting and disclosure portal to enable property owners to obtain building aggregated electricity and natural gas data. The natural gas data will shortly follow receipt of the electricity data. Protections for tenant privacy are in place. Tenant authorization is needed if you have 3 or fewer tenants or if one tenant uses more than half of the total energy use.
  • Steam: For buildings on the Veolia district steam system, steam data can be requested by emailing Cambridge.BEUDO@veolia.com.
  • Water: Water consumption data can be taken from bills or obtained from the Cambridge Water Department website. For guidance on how to obtain water usage data, please see Fact Sheet - Water Use Benchmarking.

BEUDO Help Desk for Technical Assistance

A help desk has been created to assist building owners, trustees, and their agents in complying with the ordinance. The help desk is operated by ICF International, the City’s technical assistance consultant. Questions can be directed to the help desk by contacting:

The help desk will respond to you as soon as possible and within one business day. The help desk will cover the following types of questions:

  • Issues in using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®
  • Accessing energy data and building attribute information
  • General questions about the applicability of the ordinance

BEUDO Help Desk for Technical Assistance

A help desk has been created to assist building owners, trustees, and their agents in complying with the ordinance. The help desk is operated by ICF International, the City’s technical assistance consultant. Questions can be directed to the help desk by contacting:

The help desk will respond to you as soon as possible and within one business day. The help desk will cover the following types of questions:

  • Issues in using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®
  • Accessing energy data and building attribute information
  • General questions about the applicability of the ordinance


Gathering Energy and Water Use Data

Entering Data into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

Submitting Data to Cambridge

Boston-Cambridge EPA Portfolio Manager Workshop February 3, 2015 Presentations:

Eversource Authorization Forms:

Summary Report

Every year the City will publish a summary report on the results of that year's reporting cycle. The report contains compliance information as well as statistics on building characteristics, building energy performance and water use.

2015 BEUDO Summary

Compliance Map

Check out our interactive Compliance Map to see which properties submitted reports in 2015. For a PDF version, click here.

BEUDO Compliance Map

Data Disclosure

Beginning in the second year of reporting, the City will post the energy use data on the City website. The Community Development Department (CDD) is working with stakeholders to work out implementation issues, including the design of the website and provision of contextual information. CDD will also analyze the data to understand energy use patterns and trends in Cambridge and issue reports and use the data in local energy planning.

Municipal Building Reports

Under the ordinance, the City of Cambridge is the first entity that is subject to the building energy use reporting and disclosure requirements. Energy use data is reported for City-owned buildings that contain at least 10,000 square feet of floor area. The Department of Public Works publishes building energy information on their website every year. Reports on municipal energy use are listed below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get whole-building electricity and natural gas data?
Eversource has set up an online portal where you can request aggregate data for your entire building (both tenant spaces and common spaces).

Do I need to get data from each of the tenants in my building?
If you have four or more meters in your building and no single meter uses more than half of the energy, you will not need to get tenant authorization to obtain whole-building data (tenant and common spaces) from Eversource. If you have less than four meters, have each tenant fill out a tenant authorization form and submit to Eversource via the instructions on the form. If you own several meters in your building but do not have any tenants, contact us for obtaining your whole-building data if you run into issues on the Eversource portal.

Does Cambridge automatically receive my data if I submitted last year?
No, reports must be submitted every year. When you submit your data through our data request link, we get a snapshot of your portfolio at the time you submitted. Each year we'll post a new data request link where you can submit that year's report.

How do I know if you've received my report?
Once your report is submitted through our data request link (see "How to Report" tab), you will receive a confirmation email from ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager that includes a copy of your report. If you do not receive this confirmation email, we have not received your report.

How do I know if I need to report my energy and water use to the City?
Check out the thresholds for residential and nonresidential properties under the "About the Ordinance" tab.

What exactly do I need to report?
All energy use (electricity, natural gas, steam, oil, etc.) and water use in your entire building(s). Enter monthly data into Portfolio Manager for the entire reporting year. For example, in 2016 you will report whole-building energy and water use for calendar year 2015. 

How do I report my energy and water use?
Set up an ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account and enter your energy and water use data as well as your property use details. Once that is complete, send your data to us via the data request link. Be sure to enter your Cambridge Building Energy Reporting ID number so we can identify your building.

Where can I get help with Portfolio Manager?
Contact our help desk at energyhelpdesk@cambridgema.gov or call 617/250-4205. Send questions regarding the ordinance itself or compliance to buildingenergy@cambridgema.gov.

What is my Cambridge Building Energy Reporting ID?
Check out the Covered Properties List under the "Who Has to Report" tab. Alternatively, you can use the Cambridge City Viewer to find your building ID (video tutorial here). This is helpful for parcels that contain multiple buildings. Email us if you have trouble finding your building ID.

My property has changed owners, where can I update our contact address?
To update where you receive BEUDO notifications, send an email to buildingenergy@cambridgema.gov. To update your owner address with the official City of Cambridge property database, click here: Assessing Department Mailing Address Change Form. Make sure to share Portfolio Manager login information in the event that owners or property managers change so you continue to have access to your entire energy and water use history.

What is the difference between site and source energy?
Check out this comparison between site and source energy to understand how source energy is calculated from your site energy use (the usage you see on your utility bills).

For questions about the ordinance and compliance: buildingenergy@cambridgema.gov.

For technical assistance via the help desk: energyhelpdesk@cambridgema.gov, 617/250-4205.