Mayor Michael B. Hancock recognized 44 businesses and 109 Denver buildings that are leading the way in energy efficiency. He also announced a new program aimed at increasing awareness and driving demand for energy efficiency in Denver’s commercial building sector.
Launched at an event at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Lease for Efficiency Challenge aims to help unlock $1.3 billion in energy savings in Denver’s buildings by encouraging private building tenants to become more aware of their buildings’ energy performance.
Under the challenge, tenants commit to ask about the energy efficiency of a building, as quantified by the building’s ENERGY STAR score, during the leasing process.
An ENERGY STAR score assesses a building’s performance using 1 to 100 scale. A score of 50 indicates the national median performance. A score below 50 indicates that a building is performing below 50 percent of buildings nationwide.
A score of 75 or higher indicates a building is a top performer and may earn an ENERGY STAR label. By asking for a building’s ENERGY STAR score, tenants will be able to better evaluate the true cost of occupancy and select a cost-effective space when engaging in the leasing process.
To date, 44 businesses representing nearly 2.5 million square feet of commercial office space in Denver have signed on to the Lease for Efficiency Challenge.
The event also recognized 109 buildings that have joined the Denver City Energy Project Benchmarking Program, in which building owners commit to measuring their building’s energy performance and sharing the data with the city.
“When a building is efficient, it’s a better investment both in the short and long term,” says Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “We also know that scaling up energy efficiency in Denver has the potential to create new jobs and further drive a green economy.”
It is estimated that Denver has the potential to achieve 1.3 billion in energy savings by improving the performance of large commercial and multifamily buildings across the metro area.
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce recently undertook a series of energy-efficiency upgrades that cut their energy use by 30 percent and took their ENERGY STAR score from 45 up to 80 out of 100.
“The chamber is proud of the energy-efficiency improvements that we’ve made as part of our building renovation,” says Kelly Brough, CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. “We’re saving money, have increased the value of our building and are exemplifying the commitment that the business community has toward energy efficiency.”
Benchmarking, or measuring a building’s performance is often the first step toward tracking energy use and evaluating potential improvements as data gathered through benchmarking can help guide improvements, track progress and establish a continuous cycle of improvements. Research has shown that building owners who benchmarking their buildings are more likely to make energy-efficiency improvements.
The Lease for Efficiency Challenge and the Benchmarking Program are designed as complementary program in order to maximize savings across the city and county. “Denver has a unique combination of programs in place that recognize not only buildings that are improving their energy efficiency, but also tenant businesses who do their part to select an energy-efficient space,” says Katrina Managan, senior advisor for the Denver City Energy Project in the Department of Environmental Health.