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. Benchmark your building using ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager tool and then share your score with the city to 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. Printable summary of project and enrollment

The benchmarking program launched on October 28, 2014! Press Release

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:


  • Put your building on the list of enrolled buildings 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 account is privately owned and managed to ensure your privacy upon request)

These building owners, managers and operators have all taken the most fundamental first step to good energy performance. They have benchmarked their performance using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and shared the resulting score or EUI with the city. We thank these buildings for helping Denver unlock the value of building efficiency! (Soon the list will be clickable with more information about each building.)


 Colleges/ Universities
 Academic Building 1  1201 Larimer St
 Business School  1475 Lawrence Street
 Denver City & County Building  1431 Bannock St
 Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse  520 W Colfax Ave
 Distribution Centers
 Denver CO G25A  3900 Lima Street
 National Clearance Outlet Store  5455 N Bannock St
 Brown Palace Hotel and Spa  321 17th Street
 Medial Offices
 1125 Seventeenth Street  11000 E 45th Ave
 East Denver Medial Offices  10400 E Alameda Ave
 Franklin Medical Offices  2045 Franklin St
 Multifamily Housing
 Aria Apartments  2791 W 52nd Ave
 CVV Coho House  1544 Pearl St
 Kappa Tower  2160 Downing St
 Olin Apartments  1420 Logan St
 Palace Lofts Condominium  1499 Blake St
 Spire  891 14th St
 Non-refrigerated Warehouses
 Parks Maintenance  Jason 4495 Jason St
 1001 17th Street  1001 17th St
 1290 Broadway  1290 Broadway St
 151 Detroit Street  151 Detroit St
 1515 Wynkoop  1515 Wynkoop St, Suite 800
 16 Market Square  1400 16th Street
 1670 Broadway  1670 Broadway St
 1800 Larimer  1800 Larimer St
 410 Building  410 17th St
 4600 South Syracuse  4600 S Syracuse St
 8181 East Tufts  8181 E Tufts Ave
 Alliance Center  1536 Wynkoop St
 American Red Cross - Mile High Region Headquarters  444 Sherman St
 Arie P. Taylor Municipal Center  4685 Peoria St
 Colorado Regional Administrative Offices 1050 E Dakota Ave 
 Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce  1445 Market St
 Department of Personnel and Administration  1313 Sherman St
 Eastside - Human Services  3815 Steele St
 FBI Denver  8000 E 36th Ave
 Governors Center II  600 Grant St
 Granite Tower  1099 18th St
 Group14 Engineering  1325 E 16th Ave
 Health Care Policy and Financing Office  1570 Grant St
 Lawrence Street Center  1380 Lawrence St
 Lower Downtown  1521-1523 15th St
 Minoru Yasui Bldg  303 W Colfax Ave
 Permit Building  200 W 14th Ave
 Pinnacol - Lowry  7501 E Lowry Blvd
 Prologis Denver Operational HQ  4545 Airport Way
 RE/MAX World Headquarters  5075 S Syracuse St
 Richard T. Castro Building  1200 Federal Blvd
 The Citadel  3200 Cherry Creek South Drive
 Warren Village  1300 Gilpin St
 Wellington Webb Building  201 W Colfax Ave
 Wells Fargo Center  1700 Lincoln St
 Wewatta Wynkoop  1400 Wewatta St
 Other - Education
 Children's Outreach Project  8000 Pecos St
 Retail Stores
 Furniture Row North Broadway  5740 N Broadway St
 Supermarkets/ Grocery Stores
 King Soopers Store #007 - Denver  5125 W Florida Ave
 King Soopers Store #021 - Denver  825 S Colorado Blvd
 King Soopers Store #026 - Denver  6470 E Hampden Ave
 King Soopers Store #035 - Denver  890 S Monaco Pkwy
 King Soopers Store #072 - Denver  2750 S Colorado Blvd
 King Soopers Store #083 - Green Valley Town Ranch Center  18605 E 48th Ave
 King Soopers Store #093 - East 29th Avenue Town Center  2810 Quebec St
 Worship Facilities
 First Unitarian Society of Denver  1400 Lafayette St

Case studies illustrate both the value of benchmarking as well as the steps building owners and managers are taking to improve their scores and become more energy efficient.  If you’re interested in having your building featured as a case study please contact us at

Portfolio Manager 101, How to Benchmark: 

Learn how to track the energy performance of an existing commercial building using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  This training will introduce the tool to new users, as well as help existing users fill in gaps in their knowledge and find answers to their burning questions about Portfolio Manager.  The training will cover:

  1. How the tool can help with building management
  2. Data needed to get an accurate score
  3. How to interpret your results No experience using Portfolio Manager is needed before this training.

Attend Xcel’s Colorado Energy Efficiency Expo on April 14th at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to learn about Xcel’s energy savings solutions and incentives. Their team of experts will share their best tools and technologies to help you identify and plan for energy efficiency opportunities in 2015.

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

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.

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%.
Watts to Water annually presents awards to the most energy and water efficient office buildings, medical office buildings, hotels, and multi-family residences in Denver.   Awards are presented at the June BOMA Luncheon each year, and include categories such as:  Most Efficient, Greatest Improvement, Super Saver, and a Visionary Award designed for projects and achievements that are not easily seen through direct savings.  Watts to Water has more than 170 metro wide participants.  

In addition to awards, the program offers participants sustainability training for its staff, training on using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and updates on the most recent rebates and incentives for energy and water conservation.  

Enroll by March, 30th 2015 to be eligible for an award!

Go to to register.

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.

In Partnership With: