Building Benchmarking

Denver downtown office buildings
Benchmarking Statute

House Bill 21-1286, “Energy Performance for Buildings,” passed the Colorado General Assembly on June 8, 2021 and will go 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 will also establish 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. 

 
Utility Data Accelerator Coalition

In early 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. Presentations, recordings, meeting notes, and workshop resources 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 Task Force will convene by October 1, 2021 and be tasked with developing BPS recommendations. The 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). 

The law states that 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 greenhouse gas 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. 

Additionally, 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. 

The BPS Task Force may consider the following data and information in developing its recommendations: 

  • benchmarking data reported pursuant to the requirements outlined in the statute; 
  • benchmarking data from communities that are currently conducting commercial building benchmarking; 
  • any other publicly available building benchmarking data through which benchmarking is reported to a building benchmarking program in Colorado; and 
  • any other information that the office determines is available regarding energy use in commercial buildings in Colorado. 
 
Task Force Request for Applicants

As defined in the statute, CEO seeks the following categories of applicants for the BPS Task Force: 

  • Two members who are owners of commercial covered buildings or who represent owners of commercial covered buildings;
  • One member who is a building operating engineer;
  • One member who is an owner of a multifamily residential covered building or who represents owners of multifamily residential covered buildings; 
  • One member who represents an affordable housing organization; 
  • Two members who have direct experience in, or are members of organizations representing workers in mechanical, plumbing, or electrical work; 
  • One member representing architects;
  • One member representing professional engineers with experience working on systems for buildings; 
  • One member representing developers, construction organizations, or building contractors; 
  • One member representing an electric utility, a gas utility, or a combined electric and gas utility; 
  • Two members of environmental conservation or environmental justice groups with experience in energy efficiency or the built environment;
  • One member from a local government that has enacted or adopted a benchmarking or building energy performance ordinance or resolution; 
  • One member from a local government that has not enacted or adopted a benchmarking or building energy performance ordinance or resolution; and 
  • Three members with relevant building performance expertise, as determined by the director of the office.

To apply for one of the 18 spots on the BPS Task Force, please complete the following survey by Wednesday, August 4, 2021.

At the end of the survey, be prepared to attach the following documents:

  1. A one-page letter of interest describing why you want to participate on the Task Force. The letter should highlight any relevant background and professional expertise.
  2. A one-page resume (optional)
  3. A letter of recommendation from a relevant member or trade organization. If no relevant member or trade organization exists, this requirement is waived. 

Appointees must commit to serving on the Task Force for a one-year term; it is expected that the Task Force will meet on at least a monthly basis beginning before or by October 1, 2021 through September 2022. We will allow for remote / virtual participation to ensure that members from across Colorado can participate. Appointment to the Task Force is by individual rather than organization. No proxies are permitted. Failure to attend meetings may render a Task Force member ineligible to serve. The CEO Executive Director will review submissions and notify applicants of the decision by September 1, 2021. 

Inquiries pertaining to the benchmarking program or the BPS Task Force may be directed to kim.burke@state.co.us