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Building Energy and Water Scoring

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What is ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®?

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free online tool developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) that allows you to track and assess energy and water use across your entire portfolio of buildings in a secure online environment. With Portfolio Manager, you can calculate the building’s energy performance, compare it with similar buildings and monitor it over time. When you benchmark a building in Portfolio Manager, one of the key metrics you’ll see is energy use intensity, or EUI.

The EUI expresses a building’s energy use as a function of its size or other characteristics. For most property types in Portfolio Manager, the EUI is expressed as energy per square foot per year. It’s calculated by dividing the total energy consumed by the building in one year by square footage. For many building types, Portfolio Manager calculates the ENERGY STAR rating, which indicates how efficiently buildings use energy on a 1-100 scale, where a score of 50 indicates average energy performance. Buildings with a score of 75 or better are top performers and may be eligible for the ENERGY STAR certification. Some building types are currently not eligible to receive an ENERGY STAR score, but can still benefit from benchmarking, as Portfolio Manager calculates other energy performance metrics such as EUI.

Consistent with the approach to the 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score, you can now generate an EPA 1 – 100 water score to see how your property’s water consumption measures up against similar properties nationwide. More information about the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Water Score can be found here: https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/owners_and_managers/existing_buildings/use_portfolio_manager/understand_metrics/epa_1_100_water_score

The Building Energy and Water Scoring program also uses Water Use Intensity (WUI) consistent with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  More information about WUI can be found here: https://portfoliomanager.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115001993968-What-is-Water-Use-Intensity

What is the difference between LEED and ENERGY STAR?

ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that focuses on improving energy performance in buildings as a method of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building certification offered by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). 

ENERGY STAR is a technical assistance and recognition program that offers owners and managers of all buildings access to free tools and resources to help them evaluate their energy performance and reduce energy use and GHG emissions.

LEED is a building certification process that looks at various aspects of “green building” and awards recognition to buildings that meet certain standards. Users of the LEED process earn credits in several categories associated with green buildings. These differ by the type of LEED certification, but generally include: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation.

Neither LEED certification nor ENERGY STAR certifications are required as a part of Building Energy and Water Scoring.

How will my building benefit from benchmarking?

By providing information about a building’s energy use and comparing its performance to similar buildings, benchmarking empowers building owners, managers, and other stakeholders to make more informed decisions, identify opportunities to improve energy and water use in their buildings, and save money. Evidence of these benefits is already available: by analyzing data from over 35,000 buildings that used Portfolio Manager and received an ENERGY STAR score from 2008 to 2011, US EPA found that average energy use declined by 7%. For more benchmarking trends, visit US EPA’s DataTrends Series, found at www.EnergyStar.gov/DataTrends.

How do I know if my building is covered under the Ordinance?

The City of Fort Collins will make the addresses of covered buildings publicly available through the Building Energy and Water Scoring program website one year prior to the reporting period, allowing building owners to confirm their participation in the program well in advance of any requirements.

Given the reliance on Larimer County Assessor record to determine building sizes, the City may not have the most accurate building square footage.  If a building owner’s address is not listed or listed in error, building owners are required to self-report to correct the record.  Contact YnVpbGRpbmdzY29yaW5nQGZjZ292LmNvbQ== to correct errors in publicly available data.

Can I use another benchmarking tool besides Portfolio Manager?

No, per the adopted Ordinance 2018-144, building owners must use ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager to benchmark and report their covered buildings to the City of Fort Collins. Like many other jurisdictions across the nation, Fort Collins is using the reporting functionality of Portfolio Manager to ensure compliance with the Building Energy and Water Scoring program.

Does the Building Energy and Water Scoring ordinance require mandatory improvements, audits or retrofits?

No. This ordinance will help building managers and owners make their own choices about whether to make upgrades and how to save money by becoming more energy efficient.

My building is not eligible to receive an ENERGY STAR score – do I still need to comply with the Building Energy and Water Scoring ordinance?

Yes, all covered buildings that meet the definition of “covered building” as defined by the ordinance must benchmark and report their buildings, regardless of whether the buildings are eligible earn the ENERGY STAR score.  Properties that are not eligible for ENERGY STAR scores will still report EUI (Kbtu/square feet) and WUI (gal/square feet). Optional: Building owners can use the property details notes field to elaborate on the reasons for low scores or any other information they would like to communicate to City of Fort Collins. These property details will be published with the data (unless noted otherwise).

Are townhouses and rowhouses covered under the ordinance?

Covered buildings do not include attached single-family building types, including rowhouses and townhouses. “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.

Are office condominiums covered?

If the building that encompasses the condominiums adds up to 5,000 square feet or more, then yes, that building, and its condominiums, are covered and must benchmark to comply with the ordinance. 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.

How do I benchmark and report a multifamily property within the same County parcel?

If the property includes multiple buildings that have separate energy-consuming systems and are metered separately or sub-metered for all energy types (such as university, corporate, medical, or residential campuses where multiple buildings of various sizes share the same Larimer County parcel), you should set up a “parent property” profile and create a separate profile for each building in your Portfolio Manager account. The Fort Collins Building Energy and Water Scoring rules and regulations (available at fcgov.com/bews), does not require building owners to benchmark and report individual buildings within your covered property that are smaller than 5,000 square feet.

Learn How to benchmark a campus guidance, online at:
energystar.gov/buildings/tools-and-resources/how-benchmark-campus

How do I benchmark a building that isn’t individually metered?

Occasionally, buildings aren't individually metered; one energy or water meter may measure the usage of several buildings. In this case, these buildings should be benchmarked together as a campus, following instructions outlined in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager’s Campus Benchmarking Guide. In some cases, buildings not covered by the ordinance may be benchmarked with the buildings that are covered by the ordinance. For example, if one building covered by the ordinance (such as a building 5,000 square feet or larger) shares energy-consuming systems with a building not covered by the ordinance (such as a building less than 5,000 square feet), both buildings should be benchmarked together as a campus.

If separate buildings are sub-metered, or if it’s possible to make reasonable calculations / assumptions to allocate energy use to each individual building, the buildings may benchmark and report separately.

How do I benchmark renewable energy that is generated onsite?

Properties that generate renewable energy onsite with solar PV or wind turbines should refer to How to Benchmark Green Power Generated Onsite (PDF)

How can I get natural gas data from Xcel Energy?

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 (this is recommended). Alternately, you can manually enter monthly energy meter data into your account. 

How do I request electric and water data from Fort Collins Utilities?

The owner or owner's representative of the property required to report may request whole building data from Fort Collins Utilities.  See the Fort Collins Utilities Building Energy and Water Data Request Form  to request data.

How is my water benchmarked?

Only indoor water use is benchmarked. For an individual building, water use is summed and divided by building square footage to create a Water Use Intensity (WUI) metric (water use/square footage). Outdoor water used for irrigation or other purposes is not included in the benchmarking score.  

My indoor and outdoor water use is on one water tap. What do I do?

If your indoor and outdoor water use is on one tap, indoor water use can be estimated using Winter Quarter Average (WQA). For months with irrigation, water use in January, February, and December can be averaged to create an estimated indoor use. For reporting, the WQA can be used to represent indoor water use during any irrigation months (assumed to be April – October). In non-irrigating months (assumed to be November – March) the actual water use can be reported. This will be done automatically if you request your water data from Fort Collins Utilities.