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Benchmarking the energy performance of a buildings is the first step to understanding and reducing energy consumption because you can’t manage what you don’t measure.  All large commercial and multifamily buildings are now required to annually assess and report their energy performance using the free ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.  The following deadlines apply:

  • September 1, 2017, buildings over 50,000 square feet submit annual report (deadline was June 1st, the first year had a 90-day grace period)
  • June 1, 2018, buildings over 25,000 square feet submit annual report

The City will publish building energy performance data each year to enable the market to better value energy efficiency, similar to MPG ratings for cars or nutrition labels on food. Other cities with benchmarking and transparency requirements have seen 2-3 percent energy savings each year by covered buildings. Read the final Denver benchmarking ordinance and supporting documents here and the final rule here.   

Questions? Call the Energize Denver Help Center at 844-536-4528, available daily from 8 - 5 p.m., or email EnergizeDenver@denvergov.org

By September 1, 2017, all buildings exceeding 50,000 square feet (SF) in size are required to report their energy performance. Buildings exceeding 25,000 SF in size must begin reporting their energy performance in 2018. See the Benchmarking Compliance Status Report to see which buildings have complied and which still need to comply for 2017. The spreadsheet also includes a tab with the list of buildings that will need to begin benchmarking in 2018. Where there are multiple buildings on a parcel, our GIS department has estimated how many buildings are on the parcel. If some of these buildings are less than 50,000 square feet, but on our list of buildings that need to comply in 2017, please email energizedenver@denvergov.org to tell us the square footage of your buildings and to determine which ones need to comply this year.

The Denver Building ID must be submitted with the benchmarking report for a building. Find the Denver Building ID for your building in the Benchmarking Compliance Status Report, see the "How to Comply" tab below for details on how to add the Denver Building ID to your Portfolio Manager property profile.

Exemptions exist for some buildings, see the flow chart below for the list of exemptions. If you believe you may qualify for an exemption, complete the Exemption Application Form. The form includes details on exactly what situations qualify a building for an exemption and gives you the opportunity to explain why you believe your building qualifies.

 

 

 

 

 

Download a printable checklist with the following steps.

1. Benchmark your building

A. Set up the Building in Portfolio Manager: Download the Benchmarking Starter Kit. Create an account in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, add a property to set-up your building. Then, add details about the property including type(s) and property use detail.  

B. Add Meters and Energy Consumption Data: Download Xcel's Benchmarking Services Guide. Add meters to the property in Portfolio Manager. Make sure you create at least one meter for each type of energy used in the building, including electricity, natural gas, steam and chilled water. If you want Xcel Energy to automatically upload aggregated whole-building data for electricity and natural gas, create only one virtual aggregated electricity meter and one virtual aggregated natural gas meter in Portfolio Manager. Then, set up auto-upload by following Xcel Energy’s instructions (recommended). Alternately, you can manually enter monthly energy consumption data into your account for each individual electricity and natural gas meter present on the property. You will need to manually enter meter data for any natural gas you buy from a provider other than Xcel Energy as well as for all steam and chilled water if your building uses those two energy sources.

  • Have tenants who pay their own energy bills? For buildings with multiple Xcel account holders, Xcel Energy will provide aggregated whole-building monthly energy data to the building owner as long as there are four or more Xcel accounts in the building and no one account uses more than 50 percent of the energy. If your building has less than four accounts, or one account that uses more than 50 percent of the energy, then you must request customer consent to obtain the data. For the steps Xcel requires to obtain aggregated whole-building energy data, visit: www.xcelenergy.com/energybenchmarking

C. Verify Energy Consumption Date: Verify that all energy data for 2016 for the building is correctly entered in your account (January 2016-January 2017 energy consumption data is needed for all energy sources used by the building: electricity, natural gas, and possible steam and chilled water).­

D. Enter the Building's Denver Building ID: Add the building's 4-digit unique Denver Building ID so we can track compliance. If you do not add the Denver Building ID to your building's property details, you will not be in compliance. Enter the Denver Building ID for a property in Portfolio Manager under the "Details Menu", "Standard IDs". View this guide, which includes screenshots, to walk you through this step

E. Check for Errors, Add Property Notes: Check that all fields required for your property type are complete and correct. Run Portfolio Manager's built-in tool to check for possible errors. In the "Property Notes" field, enter any contextual information about your building that you wish to have disclosed.

2. Generate and send your response to the Denver Benchmarking Data Request

Follow the steps below or download our guide with screenshots to walk you through this step.

A. Load the Denver Benchmarking Data Request: Load the Denver Benchmarking Data Request into your Portfolio Manager account by clicking on this link.

B. Send the Response: In your Portfolio Manager account, using the Denver Benchmarking Data Request, (1) generate your response, (2) preview the response and then (3) send the response to submit your report to the City. 

C. Receive Confirmation: Within 24 hours, you will receive a confirmation email from Energize Denver letting you know the building is either "In Compliance" or "In Progress".

Frequently Asked Questions

Help Center: Call 844-536-4528 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or email EnergizeDenver@denvergov.org for answers to questions related to benchmarking.

Training: From March 2017 to August 2017, DEH offered 10 training sessions to teach those interested about the ordinance and how to comply. Training sessions will be offered again during the compliance period in 2018.

Benchmarking Help Sessions: From March 2017 to August 2017, DEH offered four in-person help sessions with one-on-one assistance. Help sessions will again be offered during the compliance period in 2018.

Helpful resources:

Directory of Benchmarking Service Providers

Pro-bono benchmarking support is available for buildings in financial distress, affordable and low-income housing or nonprofits. Email EnergizeDenver@denvergov.org for more information. 

How should I benchmark multiple buildings that share a meter?

Owners of multiple buildings that share one energy meter for one or more of their energy sources may comply with the ordinance by benchmarking those buildings together as a single building. We allow those buildings to be benchmarked as a single building if the owner prefers so that the user can take advantage of Xcel’s offer to automatically upload monthly energy bill data to Portfolio Manager and so the owner can benchmark their buildings at the level that makes sense for their management strategy. 

There may be compelling reasons to benchmark these shared-meter buildings separately, though, and we encourage oners to explore their options. For instance, if buildings have separate electric meters but a shared gas meter, an owner might find it valuable to benchmark the buildings separately since there might be a difference in the scores based on electric usage alone – such as if one building has undergone or might undergo a lighting upgrade when the other hasn’t. Or, an owner may want to fully understand the energy performance of each building and so may manually split the natural gas monthly data by square footage of the buildings. Where multiple buildings share both electric and gas meters, we encourage owners to look into sub-metering.  In addition to helping an owner better understand energy usage, sub-metering may enable the building to be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification if the building has an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher.  Only hotels, hospitals, K-12 schools, multifamily housing and senior care communities are eligible for certification as a campus today.  For details on options for benchmarking multiple buildings as a campus see:  https://www.energystar.gov/sites/default/files/tools/How_to_Benchmark_a_Campus_20140908_508.pdf

If you are benchmarking multiple buildings together because they share a meter please email energizedenver@denvergov.org so we can update our covered buildings list accordingly.

 

How can I get whole building data if energy meters are owned by tenants?

The owner of the building needs to benchmark and report for the whole building.  For buildings with multiple Xcel account holders Xcel Energy will provide aggregated whole building monthly energy data to the building owner as long as there are four or more Xcel accounts in the building and no one account uses more than 50 percent of the energy. Refer to their Energy Benchmarking User Guide for more information. If your building has less than four accounts or one account that uses more than 50 percent of the energy, then you must request customer consent to obtain the data.  You can have monthly energy data automatically uploaded to your account from Xcel Energy (recommended). Alternately, you can manually enter monthly energy meter data into your account. 

 

How do you define buildings used primarily for industrial or agricultural purposes?

A building is used primarily for industrial or agricultural purposes if the building is used for the manufacturing, growing, or assembling of goods and a significant portion of energy consumed in the building is consumed in support of those processes, i.e. is process load.  Process load is energy consumed for processes other than conditioning spaces and maintaining the comfort and amenities for the occupants of a building, it refers to energy used in the actual manufacturing, production, or processing of a good, commodity, or other material.  For example, a bottling plant or a marijuana grow house would each consume significant electricity for the manufacturing and growing processes respectively, and therefore would fall under our ‘industrial or agricultural’ definition. 

If you believe your building qualifies for an exemption based on the definition above, please describe your process load in your exemption application such that we can understand that it is significant. 

Distribution centers, warehouses and refrigerated warehouses are all benchmarkable space types and do not qualify for the industrial exemption. The EPA analysis showed that their Portfolio Manager model performs a fair comparison for warehouses, unrefrigerated warehouses and distribution centers.

 

How can I access meter data if I am not the building owner?  What are the data privacy rules to access data?

First, Xcel needs to verify that you have a relationship with the building owner. If you are not the building owner, Xcel will need to get you authorized on the building owner’s Xcel Energy account at the property. This can be done by completing a consent form with the building owner as the customer of record. Alternatively, the building owner can contact Xcel Energy at 1-800-481-4700 and have them request to add you as an authorized contact on their account.

Consent forms and instructions for filling them out can be found at the following link: https://www.xcelenergy.com/billing_and_payment/customer_data_&_privacy/customer_energy_usage_data_release_forms

Please reach out to the team at datarequest@xcelenergy.com for help with your consent form.

 

How can I access whole building data for my condominiums?

Xcel will treat the condominium owner’s association as the Property Owner in these cases. Please reach out to them at benchmarking@xcelenergy.com if you have any questions setting up these properties.

 

How do I correctly enter the number of units in a low, medium or high rise setting for multifamily properties?

For multifamily properties you must enter the number of units in low (1-4 floors), medium (5-9 floors), or high (10+ floors) rise settings.  Most multifamily properties only have ONE setting.  For example, if a building has 11 floors, then all units in that building are in a high rise setting.  If a building has 8 floors, all units in that building are in a medium rise setting.  The only time when a building have should units in more than one setting are if there is if two parts of the same building that are very different heights – for example one section of the building is a high -rise tower and the other section only has 3 floors. 

 

How should I benchmark my strip mall?

Strip malls are a benchmarkable space and should generally be benchmarked as one building.  The building owner can receive aggregated whole building electricity and natural gas usage information from Xcel Energy, so they do not need to collect energy usage information from individual tenants. If one strip mall falls on multiple Denver parcels, as defined by the tax assessor, then each parcel should be benchmarked as a separate building.  If, on a single parcel, a driveway divides the strip mall into two distinct buildings then each of those buildings should be benchmarked separately.  Individual retail stores within a strip mall may be benchmarked and reported to the City as a separate building if it is a space type that qualifies for an ENERGY STAR score.  See the following link to learn what kinds of retail properties can receive an ENERGY STAR score.  If an individual retail store is going to be benchmarked and reported to the City as a separate building then the rest of the strip mall should be benchmarked separately.  For example, if a King Soopers store located in a strip mall is going to send a benchmarking report to the City for just their store, then they should notify the owner of the strip mall so that the owner knows to benchmark the rest of the strip mall as one building, but to remove the square footage and energy usage of the King Soopers store from their report.  Each building should report using their own Denver Building ID. If only one Denver Building ID was assigned to a property that will now be benchmarked as two separate buildings, then the building owner should request an additional Denver Building ID from the City by calling the help center at 844-536-4528.

 

What energy units do electric and gas meters need to be set to?

Units for electricity are kWh and units for gas are Therms for Xcel Energy gas customers.

 

What if I buy my gas from gas transportation providers, instead of Xcel Energy?

If you receive your natural gas from a third-party provider, Xcel Energy is not currently able to transfer this data to Portfolio Manager for you. Please work directly with your third-party provider in order to access this information. The units used on your natural gas bill may be something other than Therms. Please make sure the units on your bills match the units you enter into Portfolio Manager. Some transport gas suppliers show natural gas units as MMbtu. In this case, Mbtu should be selected in Portfolio Manager because Mbtu and MMbtu mean the same thing in this case.

 

How should I enter District Steam and Chilled Water?

If you receive district steam and chilled water, Xcel Energy is not currently able to transfer this data to Portfolio Manager for you. District steam and chilled water customers configure your meters in Portfolio Manager as follows. 

District Service

Meter Type

Units

Steam

District Steam

kLbs. (thousand pounds)

Chilled Water

District Chilled Water from an electric-driven chiller

ton hours

Note!  Steam is billed by Xcel in Mlbs, this is the English system in which Mlbs means thousand, which is kLbs in the metric system used by Portfolio Manager.  The Mlbs option in Portfolio manager is metric and means million pounds - so do not select Mlbs in Portfolio Manager.

 

How should I enter Onsite Solar or Wind Generation?

For customers with a solar photovoltaic (PV) system or wind turbine, Xcel Energy currently is not able to transfer the electricity generation data to Portfolio Manager for you. Please refer to your Xcel Energy billing statements to access this information. Note that Xcel Energy will transfer the gross electricity provided to the site from the grid under the Electric Grid Meter in Portfolio Manager. You will need to create an additional Electric Solar Meter or Electric Wind Meter for the onsite generation system and enter the production data for that system with that meter. More information can be found at https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/tools-and-resources/portfolio-manager-technical-reference-green-power

 

What if I make an error and need to resubmit my building information?

If your building is already in compliance and you realize you made an error in your submission and need to resubmit  information, please call the help center first. We must prepare our system to receive your new data, otherwise it will not register.

 

Denver Environmental Health (DEH) will review the data submitted for data quality problems, including the following:

  • ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager energy alerts
  • ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager property use detail alerts
  • EUI outside a normal range (less than ten (10) or more than five hundred (500))
  • Abnormal ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager scores of one (1) or ninety-nine (99)
  • Gross Floor Area significantly different from that in the tax assessor’s records
  • Number of workers, operating hours, or other building use details for a specific property type that are well outside of the normal range

DEH will communicate with owners to identify and assist in resolving any errors such as those listed above. 

DEH may assess a maximum civil penalty as is permitted under D.R.MC. § 4-9. While DEH has discretion to issue penalties, the goal is to assist owners of covered buildings with successfully benchmarking their energy performance. DEH intends to take the following approach to assist owners in complying with the requirements of the Energy Efficiency Program:

  • Year 1:  DEH will offer in-person trainings on how to benchmark as well as help center support to provide one-on-one responses to questions and follow-up with any owners who have not complied on-time or who had obvious data errors. Any buildings in non-compliance after the June 1 deadline will be notified about a 90-day grace period and assistance in complying will be offered. Buildings still in non-compliance at the end of the 90-day grace period will be assessed a penalty of $2,000.
  • Year 2:  DEH intends to continue focusing on completing one-on-one outreach to help owners correct errors and come into compliance.
  • Year 3:  DEH intends to perform additional education and outreach.  DEH may consider requiring owners with continuing data accuracy issues to submit a certificate of proficiency in benchmarking subject to further rulemaking.
  • Year 4:  DEH may consider requiring a professional engineer to sign-off on the scores of buildings that continue to have data quality problems.  

History of ordinance development:

The Denver benchmarking ordinance was the result of a 12-month stakeholder engagement process from December, 2015 – December, 2016. For the complete task force recommendations, technical clarifications, and a summary of the public input process see the following: 

Benchmarking Program

Prior to passing the benchmarking ordinance the Department of Environmental Health ran a voluntary benchmarking program for two and a half years that recognized buildings for measuring their energy performance.  The program enrolled 153 buildings representing just over 19 million square feet. Many case studies were developed as part of this program and can be found in our Resource Center.

How does the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Score work?

Using the 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score, you can understand how your building’s energy consumption measures up against similar buildings nationwide. The ENERGY STAR score allows everyone to quickly understand how a building is performing. A score of 50 represents median energy performance, while a score of 75 or better indicates your building is a top performer — and may be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification.

It’s a simple but powerful tool. Based on actual, measured data, the ENERGY STAR score assesses how your building is performing as a whole: its assets, its operations, and how the people inside use it. Are you open 24 hours? Do you have a high density of workers? The ENERGY STAR score is tailored to account for how your building works in the real world. Learn more.

The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) will publish basic building information and energy performance metrics annually for all covered buildings reporting that year, including the following fields:

  • Property name;
  • Address;
  • Property type;
  • Gross Floor Area;
  • Year Built;
  • ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager score;
  • Weather normalized site EUI;
  • Total greenhouse gas emissions;
  • ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager certification years; and
  • Any notes the Owner or property manager has submitted explaining building energy performance information.

Other fields may be included as well that are relevant for specific building type. A full list of the fields that will be published can be found here. In subsequent years past scores will be shown so that improvements can be easily seen.

DEH only intends to make the data publicly available through a database searchable by address and a clickable map that will not have a download option. DEH will monitor the effectiveness of the transparency policy and any impacts on the real estate sector to inform how data is provided in the future.

 

 
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