The city of Seattle has announced plans for the next phase of its energy benchmarking program, Multi-Housing News reports, which will require some multifamily buildings to begin reporting their energy performance by the beginning of April 2012.

Apartment buildings with five or more units will be required to disclose the energy benchmarking and usage data to prospective buyers, tenants and lenders, as well as reporting to the city annually. The city has formed a partnership with local utilities providers in order ease the gathering and sharing of data, and plans to provide educational support to decrease the cost of participation for building owners who do their own benchmarking.

"Since we started benchmarking, we’ve pinpointed the energy hogs in our portfolio and performed an energy audit at one property," one construction and asset manager told the news source. According to her, following the energy auditors advice lowered gas bills on the property by 40 percent during October and November, compared to 2010.

Some of these recommendations reportedly concerned adjustments to the settings of existing lighting, heating and irrigation systems. Other rental property management firms and landlords may benefit significantly from benchmarking if it allows them to make similar cost reductions.