© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.Nowadays, structural engineers perceive that conventional force-based seismic design method is not still the unique way of designing structures subjected to ground motions. The reason is that it does not consider inelastic displacement, plastic structural behavior and duration of seismic motion. At the present time, there are new and popular alternatives like displacement-based method, in which the aforementioned issues are mostly handled. Energy-based approach is another convenient tool to examine the seismic response of structures under seismic action and probably the best way to include duration of ground motion within the analysis. In this approach, the energy input to the structure should be dissipated through inelastic action (hysteretic energy) and damping. Hence it is an important challenge to obtain the distribution of hysteretic energy within the building in order to develop energy-based design and analysis tools. Such studies have been conducted for steel frames previously, but not extensively for RC frame structures. Accordingly, this study is focused on the story-wise and component-wise distribution of hysteretic energy in RC moment resisting frames. For this purpose, RC frames with different number of stories and bays are designed according to the 2018 Turkish Seismic Code. Then the designed frames are modeled by using lumped plasticity approach. The developed models are subjected to a set of strong ground motion records and the distributions of hysteretic energy for each frame and analysis are obtained. The results indicate that it is possible to set up some rules for the hysteretic energy distribution in RC frames that can be used in energy-based design and analysis procedures.