Denver City Energy Project: Unlocking the Value of Building Efficiency

The buildings where we live and work present a massive untapped opportunity for energy cost savings, economic development and reductions in greenhouse gas pollution. The goal of the Denver City Energy Project is to unlock $1.3 billion in energy savings and 800,000 metric tons of GHG emission reductions, the equivalent of 73,000 homes energy use for one year.

The first step in improving energy performance is to measure it. We're asking buildings to step on the ENERGY STAR scale to benchmark their building and then enroll in the Denver City Energy Project. The city is leading by example by benchmarking over 7 million square feet of its own buildings and committing to cutting their energy use 20% by 2020. Summary of project and enrollment

Enroll your building by October 20th to be recognized at the Denver City Energy Project launch event October 28th from 8-10am at the Brown Palace. RSVP required.

The Denver City Energy Project will help the citizens and businesses of Denver:

Save Money.  Buildings use a lot of energy, so utility bills are a significant cost for owners and tenants.  An estimated $340 million of potential investment in energy efficiency could yield $1.3 billion in energy savings[1]

Stay Competitive.  Not only would the potential investment in energy efficiency create 4,000 jobs in Denver.  Energy efficient buildings will make Denver an even more attractive place to do business.  Tenants are starting to look for efficient buildings because they are cost effective, more comfortable, and in line with corporate sustainability initiatives.  Today efficient buildings already have occupancy rates that are 1-18% higher than their standard counterparts[2].

Do Denver’s Part for the Climate.  Over 64% of Denver’s carbon emissions come from commercial and multi-family buildings[3].  The Denver City Energy Project aims to cut that by 18%. 

Through meaningful engagement of stakeholders we are working on the details of how to meet these goals.



1 "United States Building Efficiency Retrofits: Market Sizing and Financing Models." Rockefeller Foundation and Deutsche Bank Group. March 2012. Numbers scaled to City and County of Denver.

2 "Assessing the Value of Green Buildings". Insitute for Building Efficiency. Johnson Controls.

3. 64% is based on Denver's core emissions, which are those which the City has the greatest opportunity to influence. If expanded emissions such as those associated with food and air travel are included then the percentage of total emissions attributable to buildings is lower.

The first step in improving energy performance is to measure it.  Step on the ENERGY STAR scale to benchmark your building - and share the resulting Portfolio Manager score or EUI of your building with the city. 

In exchange we will:

  • Recognize your building as an initial enrollee at the launch event if you enroll by October 20th.
  • Put your building on the energy performance list or interactive map (under development).
  • Give you engaging information to share with your tenants telling them you’ve enrolled and what they can do to help improve the building’s performance even further (under development).
  • Use the data we collect to inform the design of additional building efficiency programs.  (The city really needs your help here!  We have very little data on how different types of buildings are performing today.  Its like trying to solve the childhood obesity epidemic when we only know their total weight.  If you don’t want us to share your building’s score or EUI publically you will have that option. The DCEP Portfolio Manager accont is privately owned and managed to ensure your privacy upon request)
The city is leading by example by committing over 7 million square feet of City buildings to reduce energy use 20% by 2020 as part of the Better Buildings Challenge.  Energy use in those buildings is benchmarked and entered into ENERGY STAR to track and compare against other buildings in the database.

Denver Tenants - Businesses, Workers, and Students

How Healthy Are Your Buildings? Have you ever thought of how healthy the buildings you visit are? A healthy building, meaning a more efficient building, leads to better comfort and productivity, lower impact on the environment, all while saving money on utility bills.

What You Can Do:
(1) Ask the buildings you care about to step on the ENERGY STAR scale and enroll in the Denver City Energy Project.
(2) Find resources in this section to help improve building energy performance.

Has the building stepped on the ENERGY STAR scale?  Select an efficient space to save money on energy bills and improve worker comfort and productivity.  Ask any building you consider renting if they have stepped on the ENERGY STAR scale to find out it is a healthy building and if they have enrolled in the Denver City Energy Project.  If not, ask them why.

Ask for an energy efficient lease.  With an efficient lease you can get extra funds to build-out your new space save energy over the term of the lease.  See the Green Lease Library and Energy Efficient Lease Guidance for green leasing details.

Has the building where your business is located stepped on the ENERGY STAR scale?  If they haven’t, ask your office administrator, property manager, or building owner to step on the ENERGY STAR scale, find out if the building is a healthy building, and enroll in the Denver City Energy Project

Certify your businesses space - Certifiably Green Denver. Improve the energy use you control as the occupant of a building and get certified with Certifiably Green Denver.  If your business occupies a space that is 10,000-25,000 sq ft then the city has Sustainability Advisers who can help you get certified for free.

Has the building stepped on the ENERGY STAR scale?  If they haven’t, ask your office administrator, property manager, or building owner to step on the ENERGY STAR scale, find out if the building is a healthy building, and enroll in the Denver City Energy Project.

What You Can Do. Occupants plug load is typically about 30% of a building’s energy usage.  Learn how to bring your green to work and green your own desk or workplace.  Get help greening your whole company through the Certifiably Green Denver Program.

Has the building stepped on the ENERGY STAR scale?  If they haven’t, ask your property manager, or building owner to step on the ENERGY STAR scale, find out if the building is a healthy building, and enroll in the Denver City Energy Project

What you can do. Utility costs represent the single largest controllable cost in a multifamily community.  These costs typically account for 25-30% of controllable operating expenses.  Learn more about what you can do to improve the efficiency of your condo or apartment building.

Get advice on improvements and upgrades that are cost effective from the Denver Energy Challenge.

 

Make your home more energy efficient by using energy more wisely.  When it makes dollars and sense invest in improved insulation, lighting, and heating and cooling systems.

Get advice on improvements and upgrades that are cost effective from the Denver Energy Challenge.

For Building Professionals

Attract top talent, increase worker productivity and lower operating expenses.  Increasing energy performance in office space is a top strategy of leading companies who want to attract top talent, increase worker productivity and lower operating expenses.  36 percent of companies are willing to pay more to lease space in green buildings.  26 percent say they plan to build out tenant spaces to high-performance (above-code) standards.

Make living spaces more comfortable and cost effective.  People buying and renting multi-family residences want the increased comfort and energy savings that an energy efficient living space provides.

If you’re interested in becoming a certified ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager trainer for the Denver City Energy Project, or if you know a building that should be featured as a case study or showcase project please contact katrina.managan@denvergov.org.

Find resources here to help you:

Benchmark the overall energy performance of your building with ENERGY STAR portfolio manager.  Find out your ENERGY STAR score or EUI of your building and enroll in the Denver City Energy Project. Get ENERGY STAR certified if the score is over 75.

Free training in how to use the ENERYG STAR Portfolio Manager program.

On-demand technical help at the Portfolio Manager Help Center

Tools to find out the cost effective energy efficiency improvements you can make to your buildings structure and systems include:

  • Asset Score:  The DOE developed Asset Score Tool takes only 6-8 hours to complete and evaluates the physical characteristics and as-built energy efficiency of buildings. The Asset Scoring Tool will identify cost-effective energy efficient improvements that, if implemented, can reduce energy bills and potentially improve building asset value.
  • Audit:  Energy audits are a more detailed analysis of energy usage within a building or facility and its contained equipment.  The results of the analysis are recommendations for energy efficiency improvement measures that could be undertaken in the buildings as well as a financial analysis for each identified measure.

Relationship of ASHRAE Energy Audit Levels 1, 2, and 3:

Free training in building Re-Tuning from PNNL.  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is changing the way heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in commercial buildings are operated, serviced, and maintained. PNNL trains building operators, managers, and businesses that install and service HVAC equipment to optimally re-tune large and small commercial buildings. Re-tuning commercial buildings can reduce energy use of buildings by 5 to 20%.

In Partnership With:

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