Life-Cycle Energy Performance Framework for Cities  


Many cities, counties, and states have established clear policy priorities to reduce energy use and/or greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings play a prominent role in achieving these commitments. To achieve their energy efficiency or climate-related goals, cities need coordinated policies and mechanisms to address building energy use from design and construction through building operations. This Life-Cycle Energy Performance Framework for Cities provides policymakers a tool to look across building codes, incentive and utility programs, and post-occupancy/operations policies, to identify potential policies and triggers that can be deployed to impact building energy use.

The Framework is built on a hierarchy of strategies with increasing levels of details. Four overarching categories form the organizational basis of the Framework. Where applicable, the categories are broken into increasingly specific activity areas. To support implementation, the activities are structured as Policies, Actions, Resources and Tools.

Depending on the characteristics of the city and its willingness to proceed in implementing a comprehensive energy performance of buildings policy, the actual timeline and order of the framework may vary. Working within the Framework, cities can customize their own timelines and priorities by indicating the status of each action, attaching notes, and generating a customizable report. 

Development Credits

With support from the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and the New Buildings Institute (NBI) brought together thought leaders to identify the policies and practices that would lead to the achievement of a high-performing building stock when implemented in a coordinated fashion. These policies and practices were organized into the Life-Cycle Energy Performance Framework for Cities.

Project Team
  • David Cohan, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Ryan Colker, National Institute of Building Sciences
  • Mark Frankel, New Buildings Institute
Working Group
  • Ken Baker, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
  • Clark Brockman, SERA Architects
  • Jim Edelson, New Buildings Institute
  • Maureen Guttman, Building Codes Assistance Project
  • Duane Jonlin, City of Seattle
  • Michael Rosenberg, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Special Thanks
  • Jayson Antonoff, Institute for Market Transformation
  • Kevin Carbonnier, New Buildings Institute
  • Ralph DiNola, New Buildings Institute
  • Laurie Kerr, Urban Green
  • Ryan Meres, Institute for Market Transformation
  • Dave Ramslie, Integral Group
Additional Information: 

Access to the Life-Cycle Energy Performance Framework for Cities is provided free of charge thanks to support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. New Buildings Institute (NBI) and partners have worked with cities around the country seeking to lead by example by focusing on municipal building energy performance and policies. NBI can help cities and other organizations understand how this framework can be used as part of their strategic energy planning and policy development efforts.

NBI has created a companion toolkit that can help users of the Framework to lead by example by getting on a path to zero energy and carbon in their own buildings while enhancing policies affecting municipal buildings and the community at large. Visit the Local Governments Toolkit.

For more information on how NBI can help cities lead by example, contact Meghan Humphreys at
For technical questions about this web-based framework resource, contact Alexi Miller at

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