Benchmarking the energy performance of 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. By June 1, 2018, buildings over 25,000 square feet in size located within the City and County of Denver will be required to submit an annual report.
The City will publish building energy performance data each year at www.energizedenver.org via an interactive map to enable the market to better value energy efficiency, similar to the 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 a.m. - 5 p.m., or email EnergizeDenver@denvergov.org.
Who Needs to Comply?
By June 1, all buildings exceeding 25,000 square feet in size are required to report their energy performance for the previous calendar year.
See the Benchmarking Compliance Status Report to see which buildings need to comply. The spreadsheet also includes a tab with the list of buildings that are in compliance for the current year. Where there are multiple buildings on a parcel, we have estimated how many buildings are on the parcel. If some of these buildings are less than 25,000 square feet in size, but on the department's list of buildings that need to comply, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the square footage of your building(s).
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 by June 1. 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.
Once you complete the appropriate checklist, generate and send your report to the City.
Call 844-536-4528 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or email EnergizeDenver@denvergov.org for answers to questions related to benchmarking.
From February 2018 to May 2018, the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment will offer eight ordinance compliance training sessions. The following two training times remain:
Benchmarking Help Sessions:
The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment will offer a help session with one-on-one assistance. Bring a laptop and get in-person benchmarking support.
Complete the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager 101 and 201 trainings
For questions about how to benchmark your building, go to the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Help Desk to see responses to frequently asked questions or to ask a new question.
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.
The Directory of Benchmarking Service Providers is a list of individuals that provide benchmarking services. To be added to this list service, providers must do the following:
Please note, the City may remove a service provider from the list if we receive submissions with errors from that provider.
Benchmarking Service Providers must do the following. These resources may also be helpful for building owners or managers benchmarking a building themselves, but the are not required of building owner or managers:
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:
Prior to passing the benchmarking ordinance, the Department of Public Health and Environment 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 the 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 anyone 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.
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.
DDPHE 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. DDPHE 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.
Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) will review the data submitted for data quality problems, including the following:
DDPHE will communicate with owners to identify and assist in resolving any errors such as those listed above.
DDPHE may assess a maximum civil penalty as is permitted under D.R.MC. § 4-9. While DDPHE has discretion to issue penalties, the goal is to assist owners of covered buildings with successfully benchmarking their energy performance. DDPHE intends to take the following approach to ensuring good data quality :
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 Energy’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 owners 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. Find for details on options for benchmarking multiple buildings as a campus.
If you are benchmarking multiple buildings together because they share a meter, please email email@example.com 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 Energy 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 Xcel Energy's Energy Benchmarking User Guide for more information. If your building has fewer 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 manufacturing or agricultural purposes?
A building is used primarily for manufacturing or agricultural purposes if the building is used for the 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 comfort and amenities for the occupants. 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 the ‘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 manufacturing 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 Energy 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 request to add you as an authorized contact.
Please reach out to the team at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with your consent form.
How can I access whole-building data for my condominiums?
Xcel Energy will treat the condominium owner’s association as the property owner in these cases. Please reach out to them at email@example.com if you have any questions.
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 eight floors, all units in that building are in a medium rise setting. The only time a building have should units in more than one setting is if there are two parts of the same building that are very different heights – for example one section is a high -rise tower and the other section only has three floors.
How should I benchmark my strip mall?
Strip malls are benchmarkable spaces 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 grocery store located in a strip mall is going to send a benchmarking report to the City, then it 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 grocery 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 should configure their meters in Portfolio Manager as follows.
kLbs. (thousand pounds)
District Chilled Water from an electric-driven chiller
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. Find more information.
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.