Building Performance Standards

Benchmarking & Building Performance Standards 

Some of the most energy-consuming structures in New Orleans are large commercial buildings. In 2018, the City launched a Downtown Energy Challenge with the Downtown Development District to encourage large buildings to track their energy use, known as “benchmarking,” and take steps to reduce it. Related to this, the City Council established rules for ENO to disclose building energy use to owners and tenants. By 2024, the City will work with the City Council to approve a benchmarking ordinance for commercial and multi-family building energy use and set building performance standards for those same buildings.  
In 2023, the City joined state and local governments across the country in the National Building Performance Standard (BPS) Coalition, a collaboration launched in January 2022 by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Coalition members are committed to create and implement energy efficiency standards for large buildings across their jurisdictions, driving investment into building improvements and quality jobs that create healthier buildings and lower housing and energy costs.   As a member of the National BPS Coalition, New Orleans will be able to leverage technical support from federal agencies including the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. For more information about the coalition, visit

Municipal Energy Efficiency 

Our 2017 Climate Action Plan included a goal for City buildings to reduce energy use by 15% by 2020. The City’s Department of Property Management achieved that goal with a comprehensive energy efficiency initiative started in 2018. Between 2018 and 2021, the City decreased overall energy use in buildings by 23%. The City Council also recently passed an ordinance requiring that certain new or substantially renovated City facilities be built to LEED Gold standards. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a widely used green building rating system which provides a framework for healthy, efficient green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership. This mandate, coupled with good energy management, will ensure the City continues to be an energy efficiency leader.

To build on our progress, the City is setting a new goal to achieve an additional 17% reduction (40% cumulative) in energy use in City buildings by 2030. In addition, one of the largest energy users in New Orleans is the Sewerage and Water Board, who estimates that they will reduce plant emissions by approximately 36,650 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by purchasing utility power from ENO in lieu of self-generation via diesel turbines. The City will also be joining the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings Challenge, which support building portfolios through 1-1 assistance and knowledge sharing towards a goal of 20% energy reduction over ten years.  

Downtown Energy Challenge

The Downtown Energy Challenge was established in 2018 as a partnership between the City of New Orleans Office of Resilience & Sustainability, the New Orleans Downtown Development District, and the City Energy Project. The Challenge encouraged buildings of all sizes to begin tracking, or benchmarking, their monthly energy usage in order to begin reducing energy use and energy expenditures. The Challenge was free of charge and utilized free software, such as Energy Star Portfolio Manager, to enter and submit data to the City. Participants were also offered free technical assistance and training opportunities, as well as lunch-and-learns and informational sessions to learn about benchmarking, energy efficiency, building optimization, and more. Over 40 buildings, totaling more than 17 million square feet across New Orleans, participated in this voluntary challenge with 5 buildings given top prizes for highest Energy Star score, greatest energy reduction achievement, best energy reduction plan, best tenant/occupant engagement, and overall sustainability champion. To read more about the challenge, visit our Downtown Energy Challenge page.