Commercial buildings score under city policy

Commercial buildings score under city policy

three men in matching company shirts in front of a computer

The Congress Center, a 370,000-square-foot office tower in downtown Portland, owned by Shorenstein Properties LLC, has been benchmarking its energy use since 2007. In that time, building energy use intensity has dropped 18 percent, translating to an increase in its ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® score from 82 to 93.

While the Congress Center tracks its energy consumption voluntarily, the new City of Portland Energy Performance Reporting Policy requires commercial properties over 20,000 square feet to track and report annual energy performance. Commercial buildings 50,000 square feet and greater begin this reporting in April 2016. Properties greater than 20,000 square feet are required to comply with this policy beginning in April of 2017.

The purpose is to help building owners reduce energy costs, improve efficiency and meet goals in the city’s Climate Action Plan. Building performance data will be made public to motivate owners to do more to save energy, and provide current and prospective tenants with another factor to use in evaluating properties for lease.

Approximately 1,000 buildings are affected by the policy. Residential properties, nursing homes, places of worship, parking structures, K-12 schools, industrial facilities and warehouses are excluded from the reporting requirement.

congress_cente1rOwners and managers will track energy performance with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online tool that benchmarks the energy and water consumption of an individual building or a portfolio of buildings.

“Benchmarking is meaningful and it is easy to do,” said Sam Walker, senior project manager, Energy Trust of Oregon. “There is no direct cost to use Portfolio Manager or comply with the program. It is really about helping owners understand their building’s energy use and adopt practices to use less energy.”

Resources to help building owners get started to comply with the new policy and learn how to improve performance scores are available through Energy Trust, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, the City of Portland and partner utilities.

“At Shorenstein, benchmarking our buildings in ENERGY STAR is paramount to the successful implementation of any energy-efficiency projects we pursue. It helps us demonstrate the value of the individual project in both the building’s energy performance and reduced operating expenses.”  Kevin Kirk, manager of engineering services, Shorenstein Properties LLC.