Learn the ropes: Report building benchmarking data early!

October 1, 2015
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Montgomery County passed a benchmarking and transparency law (Bill 2-14), requiring the county and building owners to benchmark energy use in certain nonresidential buildings of 50,000 square feet or greater with the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.

Since DEP’s Early Bird Benchmarking pilot program was such a success, we’re keeping the momentum going with the Early Reporter Benchmarking Program through the end of the year.

What is the Early Reporter Benchmarking Program?

This program gives building owners ample time to get started with benchmarking, with special access to hands-on technical assistance and coaching from DEP and premiere recognition opportunities from the County for starting early! To participate and earn recognition, building owners need to benchmark their calendar year 2014 energy use and voluntarily report at least one building to the County by December 31st, 2015.

I’m a building owner in Montgomery County—will I need to comply with the benchmarking law?

Private commercial buildings in the County subject to the law are divided into two groups:
• Group 1 buildings (250,000 square feet or greater) will report their calendar year 2015 benchmarking data in 2016.
• Group 2 buildings (50,000 square feet or greater) will report their calendar year 2016 benchmarking data in 2017.

Not sure if you need to benchmark your building? Take a look at DEP’s preliminary building inventory.
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.

 

Image of blocks of color with assorted social media icons

Earlybird benchmarking provides a great opportunity to earn recognition for your business on multiple social media platforms.

I’ve never benchmarked before—where do I start?

Benchmarking the energy performance of your buildings is a key first step to understanding and reducing energy consumption and your carbon footprint. With a few simple steps, you’ll be ready to comply with the County’s law and tackle energy-saving projects.

Step 1:
Gather your energy utility bills covering calendar year 2014, building operation information, and your 8-digit Montgomery County Building ID (MBID). Once you’ve collected the necessary data, benchmarking is fairly easy. ENERGY STAR has a great benchmarking starter kit you can use to get going.

Step 2:
Create a new property in Portfolio Manager and follow the prompts for entering data. If you don’t know all the information right away (i.e., number of computers, operating hours), that’s ok! You can always use Portfolio Manager’s estimates temporarily and revise it later. Make sure to enter your MBID number in the Standard IDs section of your property profile. Once you’re done, run the Data Quality Checker in Portfolio Manager to resolve any data issues.

Step 3:
Report your benchmarking data to DEP using this reporting link. This link will take you to the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account log-in screen—after logging in, you’ll see step-by-step instructions on the Data Request page. Select the buildings you would like to report to the County, preview the response, click “Send Response,” and e-sign your data before pressing “Send Data.” DEP will review the data and follow-up with any questions or recommendations.

 

Screenshot of Portfolio Manager data request

A screenshot of the reporting link to submit your information to DEP.

 

Step 4:
Bask in the glory! Tell your colleagues, competitors, and the public that you’ve benchmarked early. Complete a Benchmarked profile to get recognized in our Energy News email blast, on the My Green Montgomery blog, and on our social media platforms (Follow us on Facebook and Twitter).

 

A screenshot of a case study

Benchmarked case studies appear on the My Green Montgomery blog and newsletter, the energy newsletter, and DEP’s social media outlets.

Why should I benchmark early?

By benchmarking early, you’ll gain additional recognition from the County, greater access to DEP staff to help you along the way, and some bragging rights among your peers! Early Reporters will be listed on DEP’s website and receive priority inclusion in the Benchmarked profile series on DEP’s My Green Montgomery blog and social media. More importantly, you’ll be set up to benchmark and report your building energy data to the County so your first year of required reporting will be a breeze.

What can I do if I still have questions?

Visit DEP’s comprehensive Benchmarking webpage: http://bit.ly/depbenchmarking

Read our FAQs that cover the ins and outs of the Law: http://bit.ly/MoCoFAQs

Check out EPA’s FAQs for any technical questions about ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

For anything else, contact DEP’s Energy team at energy@montgomerycountymd.gov.

 



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