Energy Benchmarking Lags in Denver Without Mandatory Requirement

June 9, 2015 By Linda Hardesty

DenverDenver does not have mandatory energy benchmarking, but it does have the Denver City Energy Project, which promotes voluntary benchmarking of buildings.

To date, the benchmarking program has enrolled 85 buildings, representing 17.7 million square feet of commercial and multi-family buildings in Denver.  The owners and managers of these buildings are benchmarking their buildings’ energy use with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and reporting their ENERGY STAR score annually to the city.

Although the Denver City Energy Project has been actively enrolling buildings since July of 2014, current participants still account for only 4.6 percent of the square footage of buildings over 10,000 square feet in the City.

According to Denver City Energy Project, the potential exists to realize $1.3 billion in energy savings in large commercial and multi-family buildings, but realizing those efficiency gains would require $340 million invested in improving the energy efficiency of the city’s buildings.

Asked if the Denver City Energy Project has considered taking action to get a mandatory energy benchmarking ordinance passed in the city, a senior advisor for the group said, “Right now we’re focused on engaging with stakeholders regarding what role they would like to see the city play in unlocking the energy efficiency opportunity here in Denver. We are also tracking what other cities are pursuing.”

Last week the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri, passed an Energy Empowerment Ordinance to require energy benchmarking. However, some building owners had voiced their opposition to the ordinance through the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Metropolitan Kansas City.

In Denver, BOMA Denver Metro is a partner of the Denver City Energy Project.

The City of Denver itself is a participant in the Better Buildings Challenge, benchmarking its own buildings and committing to cutting their energy use 20 percent by 2020. The City has already achieved 9 percent energy savings across its portfolio from 2011 to 2014.

Photo: Denver via Shutterstock

One comment on “Energy Benchmarking Lags in Denver Without Mandatory Requirement

  1. From the tone of the article, it seems that the objective is mandatory benchmarking above anything else.

    The claim is 382% ROI over 10 years. This is a “directional estimate” from a 2012 report that was then scaled to Denver. This is not a compelling investment prospectus.

    Nearly every business participates in various forms of benchmarking and studying best-practices. They would gladly consider emulating successes demonstrated by volunteers or other peers. So, if people are naturally motivated to do good things, why are others (IMT, NRDC) so inclined to impose policy?

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