Building Benchmarking

Denver downtown office buildings
Benchmarking and Building Performance Standards

House Bill 21-1286, “Energy Performance for Buildings,” passed the Colorado General Assembly on June 8, 2021 and went into effect on September 6, 2021. The bill requires owners of large commercial, multifamily, and public buildings 50,000 square feet or more in Colorado to report their annual energy use to the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free energy management tool used to track and assess energy and water consumption. By measuring and tracking energy use in buildings, also known as benchmarking, building owners and tenants can better understand how their building’s energy performance compares to similar buildings and identify opportunities to cut energy waste. The law also establishes building performance standards with which buildings will have to comply. A Task Force (see below) will develop recommendations for the standards and submit them for review to the CEO Executive Director and then to the Air Quality Control Commission to establish rules. 

The first benchmarking reporting deadline for building owners is December 1, 2022, for calendar year 2021 energy use data. CEO is working with Overlay Consulting to design and launch the program statewide. In the coming months, we will launch a new website with comprehensive program information, FAQs, training materials, videos, and links to exemption and waiver request forms. We will also staff a help desk to assist building owners in understanding and complying with the benchmarking requirements. Outreach to all covered building owners will commence in early 2022. Here is the covered building list (updated 9/22/2021) that Overlay compiled as a result of outreach to County Assessor offices.

In January 2021, CEO formed a Utility Data Accelerator Coalition in order to educate and prepare utility companies to meet future data disclosure requirements under a statewide benchmarking and energy performance statute. The Coalition provided information and assistance to utility representatives through monthly workshops from January through June 2021. Click here to download a spreadsheet template compatible with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager that utilities can use.

Presentations, recordings (on YouTube), meeting notes, and resources for each workshop are available at the links below. 

Building Performance Standards Task Force

The Energy Performance for Buildings law directs CEO to appoint and convene a task force to develop recommendations for building performance standards (BPS) to meet sector-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets of 7% by 2026 and 20% by 2030 from a 2021 baseline. 

The BPS recommendations, which must be approved by two-thirds of the Task Force members, are due to the CEO Executive Director on or before October 1, 2022. The Executive Director will then send the recommendations to the Governor, the General Assembly and the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC). 

Per statute, in developing the recommendations, the BPS Task Force shall:

  • Solicit feedback from a broad range of industries and building owners; 
  • Examine building types of unique energy needs including aviation facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals; 
  • In calculating GHG reductions, the calculation must not include savings from statewide decarbonization of electricity or natural gas utility grids, but may include savings from utilities' or local governments' energy efficiency programs.

The BPS Task Force may consider making recommendations related to: 

  • Workforce availability and development related to building energy performance; 
  • Financial and nonfinancial costs and benefits of upgraded building energy performance; 
  • Availability of programs, technical assistance, and incentives to support building owners, utilities, and local governments; 
  • Opportunities to improve commercial building energy use in Colorado; and 
  • How regulations and agency support could help ensure building owners avoid fines through compliance with performance standards.

To be added to the email list to receive BPS Task Force updates, please email Kim Burke

CEO issued a press release on September 1, 2021 announcing the members of the Task Force. The following individuals were selected. 

BPS Task Force members

BPS Task Force meetings are open to the public for listening via Zoom webinar. We will post agendas and a link to register as an attendee prior to each meeting. 

Meeting #1 - Wednesday, September 29, 2021 from 1-3 pm MT

Meeting #2 - Wednesday, October 27, 2021 from 1-3 pm MT - Register here

Meeting #3 - Wednesday, November 17, 2021 from 1-3 pm MT - Register here

Meeting #4 - Wednesday, December 15, 2021 from 1-3 pm MT - Register here