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As commercial property owners in California struggle to attract and retain tenants throughout all sectors, they are also faced with another daunting task: going green in a difficult economy. They want to make their existing buildings more marketable and realize savings from energy and other retrofits; however, it can be challenging to justify the initial capital investment.

Owners are also feeling pressure mount externally. All indicators point to increases in both utility costs and regulations in California over the next few years. Regulation in some municipalities, such as San Francisco, already require non-residential building owners over 50,000 square feet to provide energy benchmarking annually. During the next two years, the California Energy Commission will be establishing a schedule for compliance with AB 1103, which mandates energy benchmarking throughout the state for non-residential buildings. Understanding how a building uses energy compared to similar properties creates opportunities beyond compliance. It also reveals ways to strategically decrease a building's energy consumption, often with free consultation from the utility companies including PG&E, Southern California Edison and others.

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