Denver requires commercial energy benchmarking - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Regulation  -  July 10, 2017

Denver requires commercial energy benchmarking

Commercial buildings in Denver, Colo., must report their energy use to the city by Sept. 1 through a benchmarking process under an ordinance that passed the city council in December 2016.

The ordinance was passed under a program called Energize Denver, developed by Mayor Michael Hancock and intended to help the city succeed in its 2020 Sustainability and Climate Action plan. These goals include reducing Denver’s greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels and reducing emissions by 80% by 2050.

The requirements of the program include commercial and multifamily buildings more than 50,000 square feet tracking and reporting their ENERGY STAR score using a free online tool that measures energy use, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. This data will annually be released to the public by the city of Denver.

The scope of businesses under the requirement will increase to buildings bigger than 25,000 square feet in 2018; these buildings must report their energy performance benchmarking by June 1.

Buildings that don’t comply by the Sept. 1 deadline will have to pay a fine of $2,000.

The publishing of energy performance data of commercial buildings each year is meant to “enable the market to better value energy efficiency,” according to the program’s website.

According to Denver’s Department of Environmental Health, the city’s $340 million investment in building energy efficiency could create 4,000 local jobs and $1.3 billion in energy savings over 10 years. The city also estimates that large commercial and multifamily buildings are responsible for 57% of Denver’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The original deadline for the benchmark reporting was June 1, but after the deadline passed a 90-day grace period was extended to businesses.

“By passing this ordinance, we’re aiming to make Denver a sustainable city for generations to come,” Hancock said in a statement in December. “Local actions can have global impacts, and Denver will join with cities across the world who are taking positive steps to make their cities more resilient to our changing climate.”

In implementing its benchmarking program, Denver joins a growing number of other U.S. cities that are developing or have already implemented benchmarking programs such as Chicago and New York City.

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