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Building Energy Benchmarking Law

Benchmarking: General Information

 


Bulletin Board: News and Upcoming Events

 

Congratulations to the Early Bird Benchmarkers!

The Department of Environmental Protection would like to extend a big thank you to our Early Bird Benchmarkers! These organizations earned the esteemed title of Early Bird Benchmarker by voluntarily reporting calendar year 2014 benchmarking data to DEP by August 1, 2015:

  • Adventist HealthCare
  • American Real Estate Partners
  • Brookfield Properties
  • The Chevy Chase Land Company of Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Colonel’s Limited dba Papa John’s Pizza
  • First Potomac Realty Trust
  • Grady Management, Inc.
  • Hughes Network Systems, LLC
  • The JBG Companies
  • Matan Companies
  • Montgomery College
  • ProMark Real Estate Services, LLC
  • Recurrent, LLC
  • The Tower Companies
  • Vanguard Realty Group

These organizations have greatly assisted DEP with developing data analyses and new guidance and outreach materials, and are now well-positioned to meet the upcoming requirements of the County’s Benchmarking Law.

We also acknowledge the leadership our own Montgomery County Department of General Services (DGS) has demonstrated by meeting their initial June 1, 2015 deadline.  County buildings were given a deadline ahead of private sector deadlines so we might lead-by-example.  By benchmarking ahead of our private sector, DGS has contributed invaluable input, feedback, lessons learned, and best practices to enhance our benchmarking support. 

 

 

Benchmarking FAQs - POSTED August 5, 2015

DEP has developed an initial list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Montgomery County's Benchmarking Law. This FAQ will answer your questions, provide some clarity, and help your organization meet the law. Download the Building Energy Benchmarking FAQs document (PDF, 569 KB).

 

Reporting Link for Early Reporting Benchmarkers - POSTED August 3, 2015

Early Reporters may use this template to report calendar year 2014 data to DEP up to December 31, 2015, to gain additional recognition and assist DEP in piloting new benchmarking data processes. This is the reporting link to use to report energy benchmarking results for calendar year 2014 to DEP. Early Reporters will receive: 

  • Recognition of your organization on the DEP Benchmarking Website and the Montgomery County Energy News.
  • Greater access to DEP staff for questions as you benchmark.
  • Priority for inclusion in the “BENCHMARKED” Blog Series where we profile your building and benchmarking effort. 

Step-by-step instructions are provided by clickling the Reporting Template Link below: 

**Reporting Template for Early Reporting Benchmarkers** (This link will take you to your ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account online.)

 

Introducing: Our Local Benchmarking Ambassadors!

DEP is proud to recognize our first group of Benchmarking Ambassadors (PDF, 95 KB).  These individuals attended a special 3-hour "train-the-trainer" Ambassadors Training at Montgomery College, taught by EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Staff, got the details about complying with Montgomery County's law, and information on accessing data from utilities. Another training will be held in October 2015. If you have a question about the law or how to best proceed with your benchmarking, the individuals and organizations below are a great place to start.

Disclaimer: Inclusion in this list does not confer certification, an official endorsement, or approval from the Montgomery County Government or any of its agencies.

 

Preliminary Covered Building List - POSTED May 1, 2015

DEP has posted an initial building inventory, a list of buildings and properties, based on different sources, that are expected to be covered under the Benchmarking law.  

Note: This inventory is an approximation, meant to raise awareness about the law and help identify the buildings covered by the law.  Each building owner will need to confirm their own building square footage to determine coverage under the law.

An image of a lightbulb with a green city inside.
Photo credit: Shutterstock / art4all
 

Sign-up for Email Updates


Subscribe to the Montgomery County Energy News (see example), an email newsletter with updates on benchmarking (trainings, events, and resources), property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing, and other energy happenings and stories in the county. 

 

Subscribe to Benchmarking News

 


About the Benchmarking Law


Summary of the Benchmarking Law: In May 2014, the Montgomery County adopted Bill 2-14, Environmental Sustainability – Buildings – Benchmarking (PDF, 580 KB), which requires the County and building owners to benchmark the energy use of their nonresidential buildings 50,000 square feet and greater in the county in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and report it to the County for public disclosure.  

The County will lead by example and benchmark its buildings first. The first deadline for private buildings is December 2016. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for the implementation of this law.

 

About Benchmarking

  • What is Energy Benchmarking?  Energy Benchmarking means tracking a building's energy use and using a standard metric to compare the building's performance against past performance and to its peers nationwide.  

  • What are the Benefits?  Benchmarking improves our understanding of energy consumption patterns; quantifies energy performance to compare against past performance and other similar buildings; helps identify energy saving opportunities within a portfolio of buildings; and manages business bottom line through consistent data collection and tracking.  Read more about the Benefits of Benchmarking.

Word collage of benchmarking and energy terms


Case Studies and Blog Articles


Recent Case Studies: Read our benchmarking blog posts to get the scoop on local buildings that are benchmarking and highlights from our events.

 

The 2nd Annual Montgomery County Energy Summit was a great success!  Attended by over 170 folks, hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council – National Capital Region, Montgomery County Branch, and sponsored by nearly a dozen utilities and energy companies that support energy efficiency in the County, the event offered a variety of learning opportunities for participants to support benchmarking and efforts to improve building energy performance.  Read the short synopisis: Montgomery County Energy Summit Unveils Resources and Research


Official Guidance 


Almost all of the information on this website will be compiled into a downloadable document developed to guide you through the details of the benchmarking process.  Updates to this document will be communicated through the Montgomery County Energy News and will be posted here.

  • Benchmarking Official Guidance Document: How to Benchmark & Comply - Coming soon!
     

Frequently Asked Questions

Start Here: Required Buildings and Deadlines


Step 1: Identify Buildings to Benchmark


Building Groups and Deadlines

There are three groups required to benchmark under the Benchmarking Law in Montgomery County.  

 

Building Groups and Deadlines

Group

Building(s)* Size

Data Year

First Deadline

County

50k sq. ft. +

2014

June 1, 2015

Group 1

250k sq. ft. +

2015

Dec. 1, 2016

Group 2

50k sq. ft. up to 250k sq. ft.

2016

Dec. 1, 2017

*The Montgomery County law defines a covered building as a nonresidential building, or any group of nonresidential buildings that have the same property identification number, that meet the given thresholds and criteria. 

 

Special Cases:

  • Multiple Buildings that Share a PIN/Tax ID: If you have a complex of buildings that share a property identification number (your Parcel ID or Tax ID), and their square footage adds up to the thresholds listed above, they are considered covered under this law (e.g., office campus with two buildings that are 30,000 square feet each and share a Tax ID).

  • A Building on Multiple Parcels: If you have a building that meets the thresholds, regardless of how many parcels or tax IDs or owners, the building is also considered covered under this law (e.g., shopping mall).


Covered Building List - POSTED May 1, 2015

Private Covered Buildings Inventory (provided by DEP) (MS Excel, 98 KB)

Important Information about the Covered Buildings Inventory (PDF, 108 KB)

Note: This inventory is an approximation, meant to raise awareness about the law and help identify the buildings covered by the law.  Each building owner will need to confirm their own building square footage to determine coverage under the law.

 

Exemptions and Waivers

Downtown Silver Spring by Matthew Straubmuller via Flickr

Buildings exempt from the law include any County building, Group 1 covered building or Group 2 covered building with more than 10% occupancy which is used for:

  • Public assembly in a building without walls,
  • Warehousing,
  • Self storage, or
  • A use classified as manufacturing and industrial or transportation communication, and utilities.

Waivers can be applied for in the cases where the building:

  • Is in financial distress, defined as the building is subject of a tax lien sale or public auction due to property tax arrearages; is controlled by a court appointed receiver; or was recently acquired by a deed in lieu of foreclosure;
  • Had average physical occupancy of less than 50% throughout the calendar year for which benchmarking is required; or
  • Is new construction and received its certificate of use and occupancy during the calendar year for which benchmarking is required.

 

Next: Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager


Step 2: Collect Building and Energy Data


Gather your Building Information

What building information do you need to collect? Use the Montgomery County version of the Portfolio Manager Data Collection Worksheet to pre-assemble your information.

 

Have tenants? Building owners must request any space data needed in writing to the tenant no later than March 31 of each compliance year.  Tenants must respond within 30 days of a request, per the Benchmarking Law.

  • Use the Montgomery County Tenant Information Request Letter Template (.doc, 16 KB) to explain your request and list information you’re seeking.  Using this template is not required and is only meant as a guide.

 

ENERGY STAR row of buildings

 

Gather your Energy Data

You will need whole-building energy data for all your meters in order to benchmark properly in Portfolio Manager.  Two ways to get your energy data:

Gather your utility bills

  • If you are the account holder of all your meters and all your energy data is available to you, we recommend collecting your bills for manual input.  (Portfolio Manager provides a bulk-upload option to easily upload multiple meters at the same time.)

  • If you have tenants, you can request that they share/send their energy data to you for the purposes of benchmarking.  Or, read below for information on requesting data from your utility/utilities.

 

Request data from your utility/utilities

If you have multiple meters in your building, it is possible to request whole-building/aggregate data from your utilities for benchmarking purposes.  This service is most beneficial to building owners with several buildings and more than 5 meters in each building, particularly where tenants pay the utility bills.

  • If you have 5 or more meters, you can usually request whole-building/aggregate data without tenant authorization.

  • If you have 4 or fewer meters, you can request data from your utility but must obtain authorization from tenants to obtain their energy data.  Building owners will need to receive authorization from each tenant.  DEP is working on a common authorization form and/or will provide links to access forms for each utility.

 

When to Request Utility Data

Utilities will take up to 10 business days to provide your data; the wait can be longer as we approach compliance deadlines.  Building owners are encouraged to request their data early.

 

Utility-Specific Information

  • Pepco customers can find information on getting their Pepco data at Pepco Energy Benchmarking
  • Washington Gas customers with 5 or more meters can find information on getting their gas bill data at Washington Gas Energy Benchmarking.
  • BG&E offers some information on Automated Benchmarking.  More information coming soon.
  • Potomac Edison – Account holders can either call customer service at 1-800-686-0011 to request and receive up to 2 years of historical monthly data via postal mail OR account holds can sign-up for or log-in to their account on the First Energy website and retrieve their data this way.  Only account holders can request utility data.  Note: If the account holder is a tenant, they will need to request their data and provide it to their building owner.  

Step 3: Benchmark your Building in Portfolio Manager

 

About the Software: Portfolio Manager

In order to streamline the process of benchmarking, the benchmarking law has identified U.S. EPA’s free, industry-standard ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Tool as the standard software for benchmarking and reporting. Read about it at energystar.gov/benchmark.

 

 

Method 1: Do-It-Yourself Benchmarking

Portfolio Manager is built to be user-friendly and accessible for in-house staff to benchmark their buildings.  In many cases, ENERGY STAR has found accounting, operations, and building management staff are entering data into Portfolio Manager.  If you choose to Do-It-Yourself, below are some helpful tools to guide you.

Portfolio Manager Resources

Montgomery County DEP is working very closely with ENERGY STAR and defers to their technical support for guidance in benchmarking in the software.  Benchmarking per the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager guidelines are a best practice for compliance with the Benchmarking Law.

 

Method 2: Hire an Energy Service Company to Benchmark

Benchmarking is a common and regular practice for any energy efficiency or conservation project.  Montgomery County and the region are home to many energy service companies that offer an array of services to help you manage your energy use.  Many of these same companies are experienced in benchmarking and can help you benchmark your building.

What to Look For in an Energy Service CompanyDEP cannot endorse a particular company or business, but we recommend asking a few companies about their experience for benchmarking, their ability to help deliver energy savings, and other services they offer.  You can ask for quotes from multiple companies, and they may be able to help you benchmark, and access to improve your building's energy performance. 

Where to Look for an Energy Service Company: DEP does not endorse a particular company or business, but we can direct you to existing lists of energy service companies that do similar work.

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Montgomery County Building ID (MBID)

To be sure your building is counted as compliant by DEP, you will need to provide an additional ID number special to Montgomery County.  Under the Details tab, you will find a number of fields for ID numbers.  Under Standard ID, you’ll select Montgomery County (MD) Building ID and enter your building’s 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID as your MBID.

Special cases:

  • If you have multiple buildings on your parcel, you’ll create your MBID by using the 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID number and adding an underscore and lower case letters beginning with “a”  (e.g., 01234567­_a, 01234567_b).
     
  • If you have a building on multiple parcels, you can list each 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID number as your MBIDs, separating each with a comma.
     

Montgomery County DEP Support

Montgomery County DEP offers support for building owners benchmarking in Portfolio Manager through the following resources:

  • DEP Office Hours: These are monthly sessions held at DEP that feature a live Portfolio Manager webinar and opportunity for Q&A and discussion with the EPA webinar hosts, DEP, and other attendees.  Subscribe to the Energy News for these event announcements.
     
  • Benchmarking Law and Requirements Questions: If you have a question about compliance, details of the law, or the processes and procedures to comply (e.g., the MBID), you can check out our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 569 KB) or email your question to DEP at energy@montgomerycountymd.gov.

  • Portfolio Manager Support: In general, DEP uses the same Portfolio Manager resources as the public and can refer you to Portfolio Manager’s technical support.  DEP may offer to try to help you with any questions in Portfolio Manager – in these cases, we may ask you to share your property (read-only) with us so we can look at it from our computers to try to solve the problem.  You can revoke this sharing at any time.  To request/schedule a DEP session, email DEP at energy@montgomerycountymd.gov.

 

Word collage of benchmarking terms

Last Steps: Verification and Reporting


Step 4: Verifying Your Data

The Benchmarking Law 2-14 (PDF, 580 KB) requires that building owners complete a verification process every 3 years, starting with the first year of reporting.

The Benchmarking Work Group's Legislative and Implementation Subcommittee is reviewing this section of the legislation.  Further guidance on verification, who can conduct it, the scope of verification, and documentation is being developed.  
 


Step 5: Reporting to the County

Reporting Deadlines

There are three groups benchmarking in Montgomery County.

 
Building Groups and Deadlines

Group

Building(s)* Size

Data Year

First Deadline

County

50k sq. ft. +

2014

June 1, 2015

Group 1

250k sq. ft. +

2015

Dec. 1, 2016

Group 2

50k sq. ft. up to 250k sq. ft.

2016

Dec. 1, 2017

*The Montgomery County law defines a covered building as a nonresidential building, or any group of nonresidential buildings that have the same property identification number, that meet the given thresholds and criteria. 
 

 

How to Report

Reporting to the County is easy once you’ve completed your benchmarking in Portfolio Manager.  DEP will provide a link closer to the first compliance deadline that will facilitate electronic reporting to the County through Portfolio Manager. Check back here or sign up for the Montgomery County Energy News in the months preceding deadlines for the reporting link.
 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Montgomery County Building ID (MBID)

To be sure your building is counted as compliant by DEP, you will need to provide an additional ID number special to Montgomery County.  Under the Details tab, you will find a number of fields for ID numbers.  Under Standard ID, you’ll select Montgomery County (MD) Building ID and enter your building’s 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID as your MBID.

Special cases:

  • If you have multiple buildings on your parcel, you’ll create your MBID by using the 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID number and adding an underscore and a lower case letter beginning with “a”.  (e.g., 01234567­_a,  01234567­_b)
  • If you have a building on multiple parcels, you can list each 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID number as your MBIDs, separating each with a comma.
     

Reporting Link for Calendar Year 2014 reporting Early Reporting Benchmarkers open until December 31, 2015

Please note that DEP cannot access your ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager data unless you electronically report it to us. Reporting is done using the Custom Reporting Template functionality of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Clicking the Reporting Template link below will take you to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and download the template directly into your ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account and present you with further instructions.

This is the reporting link to use to report energy benchmarking results for calendar year 2014 to DEP.  Step-by-step instructions are provided by clickling the Reporting Template Link:

 

 **Reporting Template for Early Reporting Benchmarkers**

(This link will take you to your ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account online.)

 

REPORTING CHECKLIST

Prior to using this template to report to DEP, be sure you have fulfilled the following requirements:

  • Enter all energy, water, and space use information in Portfolio Manager. Enter all data from January 1 - December 31, 2014 for each property.
  • Identify your properties with your Montgomery County Building ID (MBID).  Under Standard ID, you’ll select "Montgomery County (MD) Building ID" and enter your building’s 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID as your MBID.  If you have multiple buildings on your parcel, you’ll create your MBID by using the 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID number and adding an underscore and a lower case letter beginning with “a”.  e.g. 01234567­_.  If you have a building on multiple parcels, you can list each 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID number as your MBIDs, separating each with a comma.
  • It is helpful to run the Portfolio Manager Data Checker prior to using this template to ensure that you have no fatal errors in your data submission.

WHAT IS REPORTED?  WHAT IS DISCLOSED?

DEP will be requesting information to fulfill the Benchmarking Law’s reporting requirements and provide helpful information to guide benchmarking and energy efficiency program and policy planning.  As such, DEP will be collecting a broader set of data than will eventually be disclosed.  Except for metrics listed below under "What is disclosed?", DEP will not disclose the otherwise collected data.  The collected data will be used to provide aggregate metrics and portfolio-wide benchmarks for reporting purposes.

NO CALENDAR YEAR 2014 DATA WILL BE DISCLOSED.  EARLY BIRD AND EARLY REPORTER BENCHMARKING IS A PILOT AND RECOGNITION PROGRAM, A VOLUNTARY ACTION RELATED TO BUT NOT UNDER THE BENCHMARKING LAW.

The Benchmarking Law requires the County to make reported benchmarking information readily available to the public. The first year's data of each reporting group will not be disclosed.  Disclosure will begin the 2nd year of each building group's reporting.  Example: Disclosure will begin with data reported in 2017, the second year of reporting, for Group 1.  Further details will be release closer to the first disclosure.

Read more about DEP Fact Sheet: Metrics Reported and Disclosed (PDF, 26 KB)

Word collage of benchmarking terms

Beyond Benchmarking: Saving Energy & Recognition


Improve Your Building Energy Performance

Once your building has been benchmarked, you may find that there is room to improve energy efficiency (and maybe raise your score!).  Simple adjustments to equipment start time, operations parameters, occupant behavior, and controls can reap significant energy and cost savings.
 

Utility Incentives

Commit to making energy improvements, and use your benchmarking data to discuss with your utility what incentives are available for saving energy.  Learn more at:

PACE Financing

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing allows building owners to take out long-term loans for energy and water conserving projects and renewable energy projects and pay them back through the County’s tax assessment system. Visit DEP's PACE Financing website, or sign up for the Montgomery County Energy News to stay up-to-date on the County's PACE program. 

 

Get Recognized

ENERGY STAR Certification

If your building achieved an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher, you qualify for ENERGY STAR Certification.  Why earn ENERGY STAR Certification?  Join the other buildings in Montgomery County and Maryland that are already certified, and learn about Ten reasons to pursue ENERGY STAR Certification.  Learn how to get certified and be recognized with the biggest little logo out there!

 

2015 Battle of the Buildings

Compete with other buildings like your own to see who can save the most energy over 2015.  Meet your goals and receive national attention from EPA’s National Building Competition program!  Learn more and register!
 

U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge

The Better Buildings Challenge supports commercial and industrial building owners by providing technical assistance and proven solutions to energy efficiency. View the Program Overview (PDF, 147 KB) for more information.
 

GSA Leasing

Interested in leasing to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)?  Be sure your building is up to their energy standards – able to achieve a score of 75 or higher (within 18 months of GSA occupancy).
 

DEP Recognition and your Benchmarking Story

Have a good story to tell?  Maybe you improved your score by 15 or 20 points?  Perhaps you did a savings project and your energy performance improved?  Maybe you finally got to 75?  Tell us how you did it and get recognized!  Email DEP to complete a BENCHMARKED Profile and be featured in our Montgomery County Energy News!

 

 

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Contact
Michelle Vigen | 
Department of Environmental ProtectionEnergy@montgomerycountymd.gov | 240-777-7749