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5 Reasons to Outsource Energy Efficiency Updates and Benchmarking to Meet Energize Denver Targets

R.J. Mastic

By R.J. Mastic

Denver multifamily property owners have until 2024 to meet interim Energy Use Intensity (EUI) targets set by the city through its Energize Denver ordinance, which the city approved last year. Following last month’s deadline to assess and report energy performance, many firms are considering methods to streamline the benchmarking process and identify strategies to connect energy use to larger environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.

New criteria set by the City of Denver

New this year, Denver property owners with buildings over 25,000 square feet are required to assess and submit their energy performance data to the city using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. By 2024 they’ll not only need to report their EUI but also hit interim targets that get the city closer to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

While property owners may have been previously tracking energy performance to save on utilities, the new ordinance makes benchmarking more critical than ever — not to mention mandatory. With this data, owners can better understand and manage their energy use while providing the city with information to track progress toward the Energize ordinance targets. The Energize Denver Task Force says reaching the energy savings targets will be challenging but achievable, with most updates centered around accessing renewable energy, electrifying HVAC systems and swapping lighting fixtures.

The city is offering incentives and resources, including the Energize Denver hub, to help building owners make the required building updates and reporting, but it can be beneficial to outsource this work to a third party with specific expertise in energy conservation.

Why multifamily property owners should outsource energy efficiency and reporting:

1. Learn from the experts: Adding the experience of specialists who know the intricate details of the Energize Denver ordinance and the ENERGY STAR reporting process will streamline owners’ conservation efforts. An expert will provide an accurate and actionable road map to meet energy use targets and avoid costly fines or unnecessary work.
2. Accelerate the timeline: Activating an energy efficiency team can take time, and there’s a deadline looming. By outsourcing the work to an external partner, portfolio managers will save crucial time working towards energy efficiency while remaining nimble in managing the rest of their real estate business.
3. Leverage savings: Energy efficiency is good for the environment and can mean lower utility bills and higher net operating income. Property managers can reinvest their savings into other sustainability projects and building upgrades, all of which help
increase tenant loyalty and retention.
4. Access rebates and ease permitting when updating equipment: As part of its support for multifamily firms, the city is looking to offer incentives to make heat pump permitting easier. With their support, the cost of replacing and installing electric furnaces and hot water heaters could be similar to natural gas systems. While an owner can DIY these replacements, hiring an outside partner to manage the upgrades from start to finish can make the process more efficient.
5. Enjoy increased tenant satisfaction and retention: More often, consumers are choosing to do business with brands that align with their values. Partnering with a sustainability expert gives multifamily housing firms an edge in data and impact reporting beyond meeting the Energize Denver criteria. Owners can use this information in marketing efforts to attract and retain tenants—demonstrating the measurable effects of conversation efforts in multifamily housing reinforces how owners are helping to shape more sustainable communities.

Owners and managers who outsource their energy efficiency upgrades and benchmark reporting gain a competitive advantage. According to the City of Denver, multifamily buildings produce 49% of local greenhouse gas emissions — by investing in their conservation updates, owners will also have peace of mind knowing they’re contributing to Denver’s long-term sustainability goals. The right sustainability company can provide conservation and strategies, portfolio assessments, site assessments, implementation, and impact reporting. When choosing a partner, consider these factors:

A suite of services: Owners should look for firms with full-service capabilities from portfolio strategy, site assessments, analysis, and benchmarking to ensure maximum return on conservation upgrades.
Proven reporting competencies: Partners should show a robust data management and evaluation record, quickly delivering clear, actionable insights—making a case for sustainability initiatives and attracting investors.
Centralized capabilities: Look for a partner that can offer a single point of contact and in-house crews with the bandwidth to manage large projects.
Green financing knowledge: An expert should have knowledge of local incentives and options to implement green financing, including state and city-sponsored programs.
Reputable: Select a trusted vendor that is familiar with Denver ordinances, community-minded and motivated to help improve sustainability efforts for the city.

Hiring an external partner allows owners to implement energy efficiencies quickly and track usage in time to meet 2024 targets and beyond — becoming part of the climate change solution, improving property values and increasing tenant satisfaction.

R.J. Mastic is the senior director of business development at EcoSystems, a full-service water and energy conservation company based in Miami. With more than a decade of experience in energy conservation, R.J. has led the completion of more than 600 projects across the U.S. Based in Denver, R.J. is focused on portfolio growth and efforts to generate exponential savings
that benefit the environment and EcoSystems' clients.

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