Earth Day marks countdown to energy reporting deadline

On Earth Day, the City would like to encourage owners and managers of Minneapolis large commercial buildings (100,000 square feet and larger) to start collecting data to comply with a new energy use reporting law. The City of Minneapolis passed the law in 2013 to increase building energy performance awareness and motivate owners and tenants to invest in energy efficiency improvements that save energy and money and reduce pollution. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings consume more than 70 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S.

Building managers who haven’t begun reporting yet should know that the 2013 reports are due June 1, and collecting the data can take several weeks.

Need help?

Free workshops are being offered this Thursday, April 24, and next Tuesday, May 6, by the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) through assistance from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. These workshops will include information about the new energy reporting ordinance, help with reporting energy and water use through Energy Star Portfolio Manager, and put building owners and managers in touch with resources to make improvements. Space is limited. Building owners and managers can register at http://buildingdisclosure-mpls.mncee.org.

Other resources

The Commercial Building Rating and Disclosure ordinance is being phased in over three years. This year, buildings 100,000 square feet and larger will report 2013 energy use through Energy Star Portfolio Manager by June 1. Next year, buildings from 50,000 to 100,000 square feet will report 2014 energy use data by June 2015.

Measuring energy use helps building owners understand and compare their energy use while finding ways to save energy and money. In some cases buildings can be made 30 percent to 50 percent more energy efficient, but many property owners and managers don't know how well or poorly their buildings use energy or how their building's energy performance compares to similar buildings. Also, consumers have no way to compare the energy performance of buildings they hope to buy or rent.

The City expects that benchmarking – along with numerous utility rebates and financial and technical assistance programs available to businesses – will spur retrofitting activity throughout Minneapolis. While building owners are under no obligation to make energy efficiency improvements to their properties, most owners who already benchmark their buildings voluntarily take advantage of their new knowledge to make improvements to reduce their energy costs.

Midtown Exchange - a case study in commercial building benchmarking

The historic Midtown Exchange building in Minneapolis is the second largest building in Minnesota: a 1.1 million square foot commercial, condo, office and retail space with a global market occupying most of the first floor. Built in 1928 as an iconic Sears distribution center, the building lay vacant for close to 15 years. It’s now a thriving center of commerce and culture in Midtown and model of energy benchmarking success.

Benchmarking allowed Ryan Companies to see how much energy the building was using and look for ways to save on energy costs. Ryan Companies estimates having saved $30,000 per year at the Midtown Exchange by moving janitorial services to the day when there is natural light, which reduces the need for energy-hogging lighting at night. Replacing standard light bulbs with LEDs, fixing air leaks and making small changes to the energy management system helped get the building on track to an Energy Star rating of 96 out of 100 – an A+ on the national scale.

Published Apr 22, 2014