We became involved in the Building Energy Scoring (BES) some time ago. I attended a Fort Collins Utilities workshop where Kirk Longstein did a presentation. Kirk walked us through all the ways property owners and property managers can learn about a building and understand how to improve overall water, gas and electric usages. We brought the information back to our executive team and they agreed to have us do more research into the program.
We signed up for the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® and it’s really been fun and informative using the system. I joined the BES working group to gain information on the initiative, and I always leave the meetings thinking we are going to change the world. While that seems like an overstatement, we can make an impact by helping our buildings perform more efficiently.
While owning a building seems like something every successful business should do, that’s not always the case. For many companies, it makes more sense to continue leasing space, freeing up time and capital that can be better utilized in other ways.
The BES initiative has allowed us to give feedback on the front end to our development and construction teams. For existing buildings, we can benchmark how they are performing. One example is a 10-year-old building we’ve owned for five years. Through scoring and benchmarking, we could see how the building performed before we owned it and register how it is performing now with our changes and adjustments. Even a small adjustment to HVAC settings within a building can mean thousands of dollars in savings annually for the property.
This is not just savings for property owners but also for the tenants within the buildings. Understanding these kinds of changes can also help us recommend upgrades to the building systems. Fort Collins Utilities also helps with various incentive programs that show us and our owners what their return on investment can be with different upgrades.
Benchmarking helped in Brinkman’s certification as a B Corp company. To become a B Corp, companies must receive a minimum score for social and environmental performance and show how they have impacted the environment, the community and their employees. Periodically, B Corp companies need to apply for recertification, showing that not only have they continued their initiatives and programs but show how those initiatives and programs have advanced. One of the reasons Brinkman was certified as a B Corp came because of the use of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
Additionally, benchmarking enables us to focus on best practices when it comes to managing our properties. This provides us with knowledge about what is happening in the sustainability and energy industries. It also gives us a competitive edge in our industry because we are able to provide services to our clients and tenants that other firms may not be able to provide. I would highly encourage anyone to use the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
Fort Collins Utilities would like your feedback on our BES initiative. Please take our survey at fcgov.com/BES-feedback or contact Kirk Longstein by phone at 970-416-4325 or email email@example.com.