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Building Energy and Water Scoring

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 BEWS Updates

Administrative Rules for Building Energy and Water Scoring

The City Manager rules and regulations contained herein adhere to the legal parameters and objectives established in the Fort Collins Municipal Code and intend to provide guidance to owners of buildings covered by the Building Energy and Water Scoring program requirements.

The program requires reported performance information be made publicly available through the City’s Open Data initiative.  In addition to notifications, warnings, and exemptions, the program may issue citations to building owners who do not comply with the provisions of the Ordinance.  Staff will annually provide an evaluation to City Council of the program’s outcomes and alignment with strategic priorities.  City Manager may revise these Administrative Rules as determined necessary.

The Building Energy and Water Scoring program represents a partnership between the City Manager’s Office, Sustainability Services and the Fort Collins Utilities service areas. The Building Energy and Water Scoring Program Manager is primarily supported by the Utilities Customer Connections Program Coordinator and other City staff who support covered building owners through the process functions referred to in this document. City staff will annually provide an evaluation of the program’s outcomes and alignment with the City’s strategic priorities.

Authority for Rules

Section 12-206 of the Code states that the City Manager may adopt rules and regulations concerning the benchmarking and reporting of building performance information as may be necessary to implement the provisions of Chapter 12, Article XI not in conflict with such provisions.

Definitions
  1. Benchmarking shall mean measuring a covered building's energy performance using the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® tool.

  2. Covered building shall mean any building or group of adjacent buildings in the City of Fort Collins with a gross floor area that is five thousand (5,000) square feet or larger. Commercial covered buildings are defined by either ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager or defined by Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS). Covered buildings include apartments and condominium three stories or more in height above grade and representing multifamily structures defined by a typical R-2 occupancy by the International Building Code.

  3. Covered buildings and property use types are determined by the dominate square footage of the use and shall include any one of the following:
    1. A single building
      1. One or more buildings held in the condominium form of ownership, and governed by a single board of managers; or
      2. A campus of two or more buildings which are owned and operated by the same party, sharing a single primary function, and which are:
        1. Behind a common utility meter or served by a common mechanical/electrical system (such as a chilled water loop) which would prevent the owner form being able to easily determine the energy use attributable to each of the individual buildings; or
        2. Used primarily for one of the following functions:
          1. K-12 school
          2. Hospital
          3. Hotel
          4. Multifamily housing
          5. Senior care community

  4. Covered buildings do not include attached single-family building types, including Rowhouse and Townhouse.
    1. "Townhouse" or "Rowhouse" means a single-family dwelling unit having common walls between individual units, constructed in a group of two or more attached units in which each unit extends from foundation to roof.

  5. Covered buildings do not include industrial or agricultural uses.
    1. A building is used primarily for industrial 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."
      1. "Process load" is energy consumed for processes other than conditioning spaces and maintaining comfort and amenities for the occupants, primarily energy used in the actual industrial, production, or processing of a good, commodity or other material.  For example, a bottling plant or a cannabis cultivation facility would each consume significant electricity for the industrial and growing processes respectively, and therefore would fall under the "industrial or agricultural" use definition. 

  6. As defined by the Colorado Condominium Ownership Act, C.R.S. §38-33-101 et seq., "Condominium" means a common interest community in which portions of the real estate are designated for separate ownership and the remainder of which is designated for common ownership solely by the owners of the separate ownership portions.
    1. The "Executive Board" or "Association" as outlined by the condominium by-laws is the entity responsible for submitting an annual report to the City of Fort Collins, as outlines by Section 12-203(b)(2) of the Code, which describes the BEWS program. 

  7. Energy Efficiency Program shall mean the administrative program funded by the City of Fort Collins Utilities providing rebate and incentive money for energy efficiency upgrades for new construction and existing commercial buildings.

  8. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager shall mean the online tool created by the US Environmental Protection Agency used to measure and track a building's energy use, water consumption, waste diversion and greenhouse gas emissions.

  9. Energy use intensity or EUI shall mean a building's energy use expressed as energy per square foot per year as a function of its size and other characteristics. A whole building's EUI is typically measured in thousands of British Thermal Unit (BTU) per square foot per year (kBTU/ft 2 /yr).

  10. Gross floor area or GFA shall mean the total property square footage, measured between the principal exterior surfaces of the enclosing fixed walls of a building, as defined in the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager definitions.

  11. Occupancy shall mean the percentage of a property's gross floor area that is occupied and operational.

  12. Owner shall mean the person or entity including common interest ownership groups having a legal or equitable interest in real property and the associated asset features of a covered building.

  13. Reporting or report shall mean the data submitted each year via the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool using a template and submission link to be distributed and publicized by the City of Fort Collins. All information expressly denoted as mandatory by either ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager or the City shall be included in the submission.

  14. Water use intensity or WUI shall mean a building's water use expressed as all water sources divided by the building square feet (not including parking or irrigated area). A whole building's WUI is typically expressed in gallons per square foot per year (gal/ft 2 /yr).
Benchmarking
  1. The building owner, as defined in the Code, shall input the information necessary to benchmark energy and water usage using the EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (ESPM).

  2. Unless otherwise specified, starting March 1 of a reporting year, owners of covered buildings must complete the following steps in the ESPM tool for each such building.
    1. Enter energy and water use data for the whole building for the previous calendar year such that it encompasses January 1 to December 31 of the calendar year prior to reporting.
    2. If an owner required to request tenant data under this section receives notice that a tenant intends to vacate a building before the end of the calendar year, the owner must request from said tenant energy and water use or space use data from January 1 of the previous year to the date the tenant vacates the space. If an owner is unable to submit a complete report to the City due to insufficient tenant data, owners are required to submit an exemption request and include evidence of a good faith effort to obtain building energy and water data.
    3. For multiple buildings on a single tax parcel and buildings on multiple tax parcels that share meters, owners shall report energy use as follows:
      1. Owners must benchmark individually in the ESPM buildings that are separately metered or sub-metered for energy types and water use.
      2. Owners must benchmark individually in the ESPM each building for which one or more types of energy are not separately metered or submetered. The data shall be marked as an estimation.
      3. In some cases, buildings not covered by the ordinance may be benchmarked with the buildings that are covered by the ordinance. This situation occurs if one building covered by the ordinance (such as a building over 5,000 square feet) shares energy-consuming systems with a building not covered by the ordinance (such as a building less than 5,000 square feet)

  3. For a building that does not fit within either of the above circumstances, or a building within a campus type that is eligible for an ESPM ENERGY STAR score as a campus, the owner may report as a “campus” in the ESPM. Additional guidance on how to benchmark a “campus” can be found here.

  4. When reporting a campus or a group of buildings benchmarked together, owners must only report the parent property, each reporting cycle.
Reporting
  1. Owners of covered buildings shall annually input into the ESPM tool data that accurately reflects the total energy and water consumed by each building, along with all other descriptive information required by the ESPM tool, for the previous calendar year and report this information to the City in accordance with procedures found on the project website.

  2. Owners are required to submit a completed report as defined by Code to the program staff starting March 1 of each year for the previous calendar year. The submission shall be through the ESPM tool using a template and submission link to be distributed and publicized by the City of Fort Collins Staff a minimum of three months before the submission deadline. Owners must report all information expressly denoted as mandatory by either the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager or by the City of Fort Collins, which includes:
    1. Building owner name or third part representative; and
    2. Building owner or third-party representative contact information, i.e., email and/or phone;
    3. Building address; and
    4. Primary property use type details; and
    5. Gross floor area; and
    6. Site energy use intensity (Site EUI); and
    7. Source energy use intensity (Source EUI); and
    8. Water use intensity (WUI); and
    9. The annual carbon dioxide equivalent emissions due to energy use for the building as estimated by ESPM; and
    10. The ESPM ENERGY STAR score for the building, when available. An ENERGY STAR score is not required for property use types that are not eligible to receive a score as defined by ESPM.

  3. Before submitting a report, the owner shall run automated data quality checker functions available within the ESPM tool and shall correct identified missing or incorrect information.

  4. If the covered building is not eligible to receive an ENERGY STAR score, the owner is still required to submit a report to the City with energy and water performance information, including EUI and WUI. Program staff will review property use type details to verify if the property is unable to receive an ENERGY STAR score.

  5. Submittals will be subject to a quality control review and will be rejected if data input errors are found. If errors are found, owners will have 30 days to correct the errors and resubmit the data to the City.

  6. Nothing in these rules or regulations shall be construed to permit an owner to use tenant utility usage data for purposes other than compliance with benchmarking report requirements. Nor shall the reporting requirements be construed to excuse owners from compliance with federal or state laws governing access to tenant utility data.

  7. Program staff will review the data submitted for data quality problems, including the following:
    1. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager energy alerts
    2. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager property use detail alerts
    3. EUI outside a normal range of less than 10 or more than 400 kBtu/sf/yr
    4. WUI outside a normal range of less than 20 or more than 450 gal/sf/yr
    5. Abnormal ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager scores of less than 5 or greater than 95
    6. Gross floor area significantly different from that in the tax assessor’s records
    7. Number of workers, operating hours, or other building use details for a specific property type that are well outside of the normal range

  8. Program staff will communicate with owners to identify and assist in resolving errors such as those listed above before issuing warnings and citations effective. An owner who does not submit a report to the City including complete and accurate information will receive a notification of non-compliance and may receive a citation after.
Transparency
  1. Reported benchmarking information and data obtained from reports, including ENERGY STAR score, energy use intensity, and water use intensity, shall be available to the public.

  2. The addresses of covered buildings will be made publicly available through the City’s online Geographic Information System (GIS) portal one year prior to the reporting period for owners to verify their participation in the program in advance of any reporting requirements. 

  3. The City will post building performance information through the City’s online GIS portal to attribute the performance information to the addresses of the covered buildings.

  4. No personally identifiable information will be posted which may reveal the personal habits of an individual as required by https://www.fcgov.com/legal/privacy.
Citations
  1. The BEWS program is enforceable under Section 12-207 of the Code (including a $1,000 citation for noncompliance), and the failure to comply in any program year shall constitute a single violation in that calendar year.

  2. Program staff will send out a notice of non-compliance letter followed by a notice of violation to an owner of a covered building who does not comply 30 days following March 1 of each year, and citations may be issued up to 12-months following March 1 of the required reporting year.
Exemptions

An exemption may be granted for a building that meets at least one of the following criteria:

  1. The building was not occupied for all twelve (12) months of the calendar year for which benchmarking is required. Occupancy is the percentage of your property’s gross floor area that is occupied, operational, and including one of the following scenarios;
    1. A demolition permit for the entire building has been issued and for which demolition work has commenced on or before the date the benchmarking report is due;
    2. The building is presently experiencing qualifying financial distress, as defined by any of the following:
      1. the building is the subject of a qualified tax lien sale or public auction due to property tax arrearages; or
      2. the building is controlled by a court appointed receiver; or
      3. the building has been acquired by a deed in lieu of foreclosure;
    3. The building had an average physical occupancy of less than sixty (60) percent, throughout the calendar year for which benchmarking is required, based on criteria set forth in rules, regulations, policies and procedures adopted by the City Manager;
    4. The building is used fifty (50) percent or more for industrial or agricultural processes, as such activities are defined by ESPM;
    5. The owner can demonstrate the subject building's performance information is or involves a confidential business practice, including trade secret, privileged, or confidential commercial information. In order to qualify for this exemption, the owner shall specifically identify the information it believes to be confidential and provide a written statement describing the manner in which public disclosure would cause substantial harm to the owner's competitive position in efficient energy usage alone will not be considered confidential commercial information; and
    6. The City Manager determines that, due to special circumstances unique to the applicant's building and not based on a condition caused by actions of the applicant, strict compliance with the benchmarking and reporting requirements would cause undue hardship or would not be in the public interest.

  2. Exemption requests must be submitted annually through the program website

  3. Any owner requesting an exemption from reporting requirements shall provide the City all documentation requested to substantiate the request or otherwise assist the program staff in determining whether an exemption applies. Any exemption shall be limited to the Reporting for which the request was made and shall not extend to past or future submissions. Example supporting documentation includes but is not limited to:
    1. CAD drawings;
    2. Architectural drawings;
    3. Real Estate documents;
    4. Photo documentation;
    5. Business License;
    6. Permit documents;
    7. Bank documents.

  4. Program staff will review exemptions for the following program year that are submitted by September 1 prior to the March 1 reporting deadline; and respond to inquiries no later than 90 days after reviewing the exemption requests received by the City by the September 1 deadline.

  5. Program staff may grant reasonable extensions of time upon a demonstration of technical difficulties. During the extension of time for compliance granted, the owner shall provide regular (as identified in the approval of the extension request) updates to the City and provide evidence that the owner is making a good faith effort toward compliance. Examples of technical difficulties for which reasonable extensions of time may be granted for compliance include the following:
    1. Data upload delayed due to tenant
    2. Building ownership change or staff changeover resulting in loss of access to reporting tool
    3. A force majeure event, i.e., caused by a condition that was beyond the owner’s reasonable control (for example, natural disaster, act of war or terrorism, riot, labor condition, governmental action, or internet disturbance)
    4. Other unforeseen events beyond the owner’s reasonable control.