Fort Collins Approves Ordinance Advancing Transparency in Building Energy and Water Use
The City of Fort Collins recently approved a benchmarking ordinance to achieve energy and water reductions through the Building Energy and Water Scoring Program. Fort Collins joins 24 other leading cities nationwide with similar ordinances. The program will drive transparency of energy and water use information in the market to allow commercial and multifamily tenants to make informed choices when considering their next lease.
The ordinance was developed after a two-year stakeholder engagement process that included community members from the commercial building sector, such as building owners, operators and real estate professionals.
“The Building Energy and Water Scoring program has allowed the Brinkman Partners’ property management team to give feedback on the front end to our development and construction teams,” said Huston Hoffman, Senior Property Manager at Brinkman Colorado. “For existing buildings, we can benchmark how they are performing compared to similar buildings within a portfolio. This means not just savings for property owners, but also for the tenants in the buildings.”
The program will require certain building owners to report their ENERGY STAR score to the City annually, and the City will make energy and water performance information publicly available. The score will allow the market to recognize the value of high performing buildings, similar to an MPG sticker on a new car or an Energy Guide sticker on a new appliance. It will also encourage resource savings, as buildings that consistently benchmark energy use save an average of 2.4 percent per year, according to the EPA.
The City will adopt a phased approach with the ordinance starting in 2019 with existing large commercial buildings greater than 20,000 square feet. Once fully implemented in 2024, the performance information of approximately 1,600 commercial and multifamily properties greater than 5,000 square feet will be available to the public.
The municipal organization is the largest property owner impacted by the ordinance and will lead by example. Fort Collins benchmarks its own energy use to track energy savings and prioritize energy efficiency needs.
“City Council’s vote to pass the Building Energy and Water Scoring Program adds Fort Collins to a growing roster of cities nationwide that are tackling energy waste and lowering energy bills in commercial buildings as part of their overall climate initiatives,” said Lucinda Smith, the City’s Interim Chief Sustainability Officer. “Through wide-reaching community outreach efforts, the City tailored best practices from other jurisdictions to find the best fit for Fort Collins.”