Common Issues with Montgomery County Benchmarking Reports

 
To comply with Montgomery County’s Benchmarking Law, building owners must benchmark properties 25,000 square feet and greater using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and submit benchmarking reports to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Below are some common issues that building owners may experience that prevent a benchmarking report from being accepted:
The easiest way to have your benchmarking report accepted the first time you submit is to run the Data Quality Checker tool in Portfolio Manager for the year being benchmarked ending on December 31. Instructions for running the Data Quality Checker can be found on page 12 of the Official Guide to Benchmarking in Montgomery County. EPA also offers an extensive help resource for Portfolio Manager.

 

Missing MBID number

The Montgomery County Building ID field in your benchmarking report was blank.

The Montgomery County Building ID (MBID) is your building’s unique identification number. For buildings that do not share a tax parcel with any other buildings, the MBID is the 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID. The Parcel ID number is located in the upper right corner of your property tax bill. It would be the same as your account number. You can locate this number online by visiting the Department of Finance’s Real Property Tax Account Information website. You can also use the online GIS map created from current Maryland tax assessment records to locate the parcel that your building sits on, and see what other buildings share your parcel. 

For buildings that share a tax parcel with other buildings, the MBID is the 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID plus a letter at the end. For example 01234567_A, 01234567_B.

DEP’s Private Covered Buildings Inventory lists the MBID for each covered building.

Enter this MBID number in Portfolio Manager (Under the Details tab, locate the “Unique Identifiers (IDs)” box. Select “Montgomery County (MD) Building ID” from the “Standard IDs” drop-down menu, and enter your MBID. Screenshots to help you enter your MBID can be found here.

 

Incorrect MBID number

The Montgomery County Building ID that entered into your Portfolio Manager does not match DEP's Covered Buildings List, which is sourced from the state tax assessor’s office and the CoStar real estate database.

The Montgomery County Building ID (MBID) is your building’s unique identification number. For buildings that do not share a tax parcel with any other buildings, the MBID is the 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID. The Parcel ID number is located in the upper right corner of your property tax bill. It would be the same as your account number. You can locate this number online by visiting the Department of Finance’s Real Property Tax Account Information website. You can also use the online GIS map created from current Maryland tax assessment records to locate the parcel that your building sits on, and see what other buildings share your parcel. 

For buildings that share a tax parcel with other buildings, the MBID is the 8-digit Parcel Identification Number/Tax ID plus a letter at the end. For example 01234567_A, 01234567_B.

DEP’s Private Covered Buildings Inventory lists the MBID for each covered building.

Update this MBID number in Portfolio Manager—Under the Details tab, select “Montgomery County (MD) Building ID” from the “Standard IDs” drop-down menu, and enter your MBID. View helpful screenshot to help you Update Your MBID (PDF, 497KB).

If you believe your MBID number is correct and DEP’s Covered Building List is outdated, please contact us.

 

 

Missing data verification details

The Benchmarking Law requires that building owners complete a verification process the first year of compliance and every 3 years after. Your benchmarking report was not accepted due to:
  • Recognized Data Verifier credentials were not entered/updated into the Verification fields on the Details tab in Portfolio Manager.
-OR-
  • Your property did not report achieving the ENERGY STAR building certification for at least 6 months of the calendar year being benchmarked.
Instructions on completing verification, a list of acceptable Recognized Data Verifier credentials, and how to enter Recognized Data Verifier credentials in Portfolio Manager is available in DEP's how-to guide for completing verification.

After verification is completed, please visit your property in Portfolio Manager and enter either verifier information into the fields provided on the Details tab in Portfolio Manager. Instructions and screenshots for doing so are here.

 

Missing property use information

Your benchmarking report will not be accepted if it contains the following alert messages:
  • Alert - Property has no uses
  • Alert - Gross Floor Area is 0 ft2
To fix these errors, you’ll need to enter a Gross Floor Area figure for your entire building in Portfolio Manager and select use types (e.g., office, retail) for your property on the Details tab. Make sure the sum of gross floor area figures for each property use type equals the gross floor area for the entire property.

 

Missing 12 full months of energy data

Your benchmarking report will not be accepted if it has less than 12 full months of energy data for the year being benchmarked. If this occurs, your benchmarking report will reflect “Not Available” for all energy data metrics (e.g., Site EUI, Source EUI, Electricity Use).

Your energy bills must cover January 1 through December 31 of the calendar year being benchmarked, and you may need to enter your prior December or following January invoices to capture the full 12 months of calendar year data required for a complete benchmarking report.

 

Missing whole building data

If you received an alert stating that Metered Areas (Energy) do not reflect whole-building data, then your meter configuration may not be capturing all energy use in your building. Reporting energy data for portions of your building (i.e., only common space or house meters) means your benchmarking report is incomplete. You may need to change a setting on the Meters tab to indicate that all meters reported represent all energy used by the building OR collect/report additional energy meter information for your building such as tenant energy use.

 

Energy meters are not included in the report

If you receive an alert that no energy meters are included in the benchmarking report, then you may need to add energy meters (if none exist) or associate existing energy meters to your property. On the Meters tab of your Portfolio Manager record, you can add a meter or change meter selections. Additional instructions are available from the Portfolio Manager help section.

 

Energy meters have gaps or overlaps

If meter read dates have gaps in your energy data, that means at least one day in the calendar year is missing. This could indicate that energy data are not included in your benchmarking report. Instructions on how to fix gaps are available from the Portfolio Manager help section.

If meter read dates overlap in your energy data, that means the same day(s) within the calendar year are included in your benchmarking report. This could indicate duplicate energy data being reported. Instructions on how to fix overlaps are available from the Portfolio Manager help section.

 

Energy meters have a single entry that is more than 65 days long

If your benchmarking report contains an alert that one or more energy bill meter read dates is longer than 65 days, then weather-normalized data cannot be calculated. Please manually revise these utility bill meter read dates to be less than 65 days.

 

Energy data is estimated

While Portfolio Manager allows building owners to use proxy data estimates in their property record during the data collection phase of benchmarking, estimated data are not permitted in benchmarking report submissions.

Before reporting annual benchmarking data to DEP, replace any estimations with actual data. Recognized data verifiers should not sign off on the Data Verification Checklist with estimated data unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as an energy meter malfunction.

 

Weather-normalized data are not available

Weather-normalized data may not be available for a number of factors, the most common being utility bill meter read dates being longer than 65 days or receiving too few fuel deliveries over 24 months.

If you are able to get a site and source EUI figure, but Portfolio Manager is not able to calculate weather-normalized site and source EUI, please try to manually revise these utility bill meter read dates to be less than 65 days. If that fixes the problem, great! Just generate a new report and resubmit it to DEP.

If that does not fix the problem, please email energy@montgomerycountymd.gov and let us know if there’s another reason weather-normalized data is unavailable. DEP requires this data point in your benchmarking report, but if Portfolio Manager is not able to calculate it for a valid reason, we will accept a report without weather-normalized data.

 

An ENERGY STAR score is not included in your benchmarking report

If your property type is able to earn an ENERGY STAR score but your benchmarking report does not contain a score, DEP will request additional information from the building owner to explain this discrepancy.

 

Building is not covered under the Law

Based on the current Benchmarking Law requirements, you may have submitted a benchmarking report for a building that isn’t covered under the Law. This may be because your building type is exempt from reporting or your building is located in a jurisdiction that has not opted into the County’s Benchmarking Law.

DEP is happy to accept your benchmarking reports each year, but you will not be required to report unless your jurisdiction opts into the Law or your building type becomes covered under the Law. Your data will not be included in the disclosed metrics.

 

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