On Oct. 28, the city of Denver launched a plan to benchmark building energy performance across the city, with the goal of cutting energy use by 20% and carbon emissions by 18% by 2020 and saving up to $1.3 billion in energy costs over a decade. The Denver City Energy Project is a voluntary program that encourages owners of commercial and multifamily buildings of more than 10,000 square feet to commit to measuring their buildings’ energy consumption in order to identify opportunities for improvement. To enroll, building owners must track their building’s performance using Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager tool and share the score with the city.
The project is a local iteration of the City Energy Project, a joint initiative by the Institute for Market Transformation, a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit that focuses on energy efficiency, green building, and environmental protection, and the Natural Resources Defense Council to create healthier cities by improving buildings' performance and helping cities create policies and programs that will cut energy waste in large buildings. Denver is one of 10 U.S. cities participating in the program.
At the launch, 57 building owners committed to the project. They will receive training on how to benchmark and improve building efficiency, as well as assistance in engaging building occupants in improving building performance.
The project's energy efficiency goals are based on a March 2012 study by the Rockefeller Foundation and Deutsche Bank Group of cities nationwide and scaled to represent Denver. Research shows that a $340 million investment in energy efficiency could yield $1.3 billion in energy savings over 10 years for Denver's commercial and multifamily buildings. The project is also expected to create 4,000 local jobs through the improvements generated by benchmarking.
Denver announced the program at the Brown Palace Hotel, a historic building that has cut its electricity and natural gas costs by 26 percent and 24 percent, respectively, over the last two years by retrofitting its lighting, upgrading its HVAC system, and refurbishing its façade.
Image used via a Creative Commons License with Flickr user Tee La Rosa.