The City Energy Project makes available the following resources to any city wishing to improve the performance of its built environment. While the following documents each focus on a particular type of policy or program—and certainly don’t cover all policies and programs—we remind you that successful approaches involve suites of customized policies and programs that are responsive to local economic and market needs. Click on the title to download a PDF of the City Energy Project resource.

All documents © The Institute for Market Transformation and Natural Resources Defense Council.

Benchmarking and Transparency: Frequently Asked Questions
Benchmarking—measuring a building’s energy use and using that data to compare its performance over time as well as to compare it to that of similar buildings—allows owners and occupants to understand their building’s relative energy performance. In conjunction, transparency of building performance allows the market to better understand how buildings are performing and recognize and reward high-performing buildings. This guide examines many of the common questions that arise about benchmarking and transparency programs and policies and highlights the benefits for various parties.
Building Operator Training Certification: Frequently Asked Questions
This series of FAQs provides an overview of various operator “certifications” that currently exist—from national level certifications to city-level programs.  We discuss how a city could establish a Building Operator Certification program and what benefits will flow.
CEP Energy Code Assessment Methodology
This methodology, updated in 2017, helps cities identify residential and commercial energy code compliance issues—providing an informal energy code compliance rate that can feed into larger statewide compliance studies. Strategies to increase compliance are contained in Establishing a Plan to Achieve Energy Code Compliance in Cities.In association with this document are two partner resources:

Energy and Water Audits: Frequently Asked Questions
This guide covers the basics of energy and water audits, explaining the complementarity as well as the differences between audits and other policies.  The widespread benefits of audits are detailed, as well as practical implementation considerations such as disruption to tenants.
Establishing a Plan to Achieve Energy Code Compliance
Building on the CEP Code Compliance Assessment Methodology, this document guides city leadership and their buildings departments on working together to achieve energy code compliance for new and renovated buildings. We discuss factors for low compliance rates, processes for implementing an improvement plan, common challenges, and strategies for overcoming them.
Retrocommissioning: Frequently Asked Questions
Retrocommissioning, also called building re-tuning, is a one-time building “tune-up” that does not require capital upgrades. It seeks to improve a building’s operations and maintenance procedures to enhance overall performance without any capital improvements. This guide examines many of the common questions that arise about retrocommissioning and highlights the benefits for various parties.
Advancing Building Energy Efficiency in Cities: City Energy Project Formative Evaluation Summary Report
In late 2016, The Kresge Foundation commissioned a formative evaluation of the initial phase of the City Energy Project (CEP).The evaluation found that CEP has provided demonstrable benefits to the field of commercial building energy efficiency. CEP has increased city-level capacity and stakeholder engagement, supported passage of building energy policies and related programming, and helped to advance federal and other agencies’ tools and resources. Through these efforts, CEP has built a valuable infrastructure of city-level relationships and expertise that may be applicable to new areas, such as deep energy retrofits, reducing on-site fuel use and related emissions, and/or market integration and transformation of older, less sophisticated buildings.Additionally, CEP provides an opportunity to advance practice in the overall field of building energy efficiency by disseminating CEP experiences, best practices, lessons learned, and relevant considerations to cities not directly involved. This summary – a condensed version of the full evaluation report – highlights 20 key findings that provide insight to the larger field. This Summary Report will be of most interest to those pursuing building energy efficiency at the city level, including city governments, community organizations, non-governmental organizations, and utilities.
City Energy Project: A Model for Maximizing Impact
The City Energy Project (CEP) is a national initiative to create healthier and more prosperous American cities by improving the energy efficiency of large buildings. It employs a distinctive model that makes extensive use of networks and regional partners to keep costs low and to ensure “high to medium” touch support at the most local level possible. To assess the suitability of the CEP model for other projects aiming to effect complex, cross‐sectoral change on a similar scale, The Kresge Foundation commissioned this analysis based upon a comprehensive mid‐term evaluation of CEP conducted by Ross Strategic in 2016. Specifically, this analysis addresses the following:

  • Aspects of the model that are highly valuable
  • Aspects of the model that create vulnerabilities
  • Potential adjustments that could increase the effectiveness of the model

Funders, non‐profit partners, and future program implementers may find this memo useful when considering future projects, particularly those that, like CEP, have a model policy or playbook that could be piloted across multiple cities and then fine‐tuned and adopted more broadly; programs involving an initial experimental phase where tools, resources, and knowledge gained can be applied to subsequent program phases to increase their efficiency; and programs that are complex in terms of political will, requirements for technical support, and implementation.