City Efforts Show Marked Improvement through Building Energy Scoring Initiative

Stu Reeve
Energy Manager
City of Fort Collins Operation Services

The City of Fort Collins has made great strides in energy conservation through efforts that began in 2008. Qualifying City of Fort Collins buildings use benchmarking and energy scores to track improvements and cost-savings over time with the help of ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®.

In 2012, the City’s Parks, Forestry and Cemeteries Shop received an ENERGY STAR score of 61 out of 100. After upgrading the hot water system, replacing the end-of-life heating, cooling and ventilation units, and automating more building controls, the facility received a score of 80 in 2016.  These new efficiencies resulted in a reduction of more than $16,000 in annual utility costs.

Even better news came in spring 2017, as the score improved to its current rating of 87 out of 100. These gains came from making high-efficiency choices, tracking the progress with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and leveraging Fort Collins Utilities’ energy-efficiency rebates. As an added bonus, employees have said their work spaces are more comfortable.

With the ENERGY STAR benchmarking tool, the City of Fort Collins is able to meet its energy efficiency and Climate Action Plan goals, reduce energy costs and improve the indoor environmental quality of City-owned facilities. However, the advantages go beyond energy performance, as benchmarking through ENERGY STAR also considers indoor air quality, lighting, building comfort and reduced utility costs. The Portfolio Manager tool also provides a baseline that shows how City buildings compare nationwide and offers a variety of efficiency opportunities, including no- and low-cost options that can maximize a building’s overall performance.

Fort Collins Utilities offers the same opportunities the Parks, Forestry and Cemeteries Shop successfully used to guide local businesses through its Building Energy Scoring (BES) Initiative. BES supports building performance by establishing a score, benchmarking to similar buildings, and tracking results of improvement projects and efficiency upgrades over time. Businesses, regardless of size, can use benchmarking to understand their buildings’ energy use and track and identify opportunities to reduce energy-related costs. 

All of a building’s attributes, such as size, use, number of people, number of computers, and others, are entered into the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The building then receives a score ranging from one to 100, with the highest performing building at 100. A building that scores above 75 can apply for ENERGY STAR certification by using a third-party engineer. ENERGY STAR reviews and approves the application. When the application is approved, businesses earn the prestigious ENERGY STAR Label with recognition and public relations options.

Learn how your business can get started with the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (energystar.gov/benchmark) or with a free facility assessment from Fort Collins Utilities (fcgov.com/facility-assessment). Businesses can also learn about other efficiency programs, financial incentives, technical assistance, training and educational opportunities available from Fort Collins Utilities (fcgov.com/business-efficiency).

Fort Collins Utilities would like your feedback on its BES initiative. Please take the survey at fcgov.com/ BES-feedback or contact Kirk Longstein by phone at 970-416-4325 or send an email to klongstein@fcgov.com.