The complex process of improving the energy efficiency of a building begins with understanding baseline conditions and assessing the potential for specific improvements. Traditional benchmarking typically addresses the status quo, e.g., by comparing the building to its peers at one point in time or longitudinally. Action-oriented benchmarking extends this process by also inferring potential energy-efficiency opportunities. Doing so, however, requires more in-depth benchmarking than offered by traditional “whole-building” assessment methods. The process begins by carefully identifying a peer group for comparison that has true relevance to the subject building, and then disaggregating energy use by fuels and end uses to better pinpoint inefficiencies. Toward this end, the benchmarking process can be extended from energy to emissions and costs. Building characteristics and energy utilization parameters, as distinct from resource utilization data, can also be benchmarked in order to ascertain potential relevance and applicability of energy-efficient technologies or practices. To ensure savings attainment and persistence, benchmarking must continue throughout a building's lifecycle. A publicly funded web-based benchmarking system called EnergyIQ is introduced, which implements the aforementioned principals.