ORLANDO BENCHMARKING

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Get Your Benchmarking Ordinance In 4 Easy Steps

All design will be done as per International Building Code(IBC).

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$1500
per year
  • Evaluate your utility bills
  • Calculate and verify consumption
  • Submit BEWES report to the City
  • Analysis of energy, gas, and water usage
  • Ensure annual compliance

Orlando Benchmarking for Building Energy & Water Efficiency

Owners of private Orlando buildings over 50,000 square feet are required to track energy and gas output to obtain an energy benchmarking score annually. This information must be publicly disclosed.

Monitor Whole Energy Use

Track the energy and water consumption of buildings with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to measure their performance. This is the first step in the mandatory benchmarking process.

Ensure Compliance

Comply with the requirements of the Orlando City Council and supply whole-building energy and water data, as well as natural gas usage, by May 1, for 12 months, from January-December.

Perform Energy Audits

From May 2020, any buildings covered, that score less than 50% will require energy audits or a retro-commission service to identify shortcomings and improve building performance.

Know if your property is required to Benchmark annual energy and water use.

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Deadlines in the Benchmarking Law
  Notification of benchmarking requirement by the city Required benchmarking and reporting by the owner Transparency of benchmarking output information issued by the city Notification of energy audit or retro-commissioning issued by the city
Eligible city property >10,000 gross sq. ft. N/A Annually, starting on May 1, 2017 Annually, starting on
September 1, 2018
May 1, 2020
Eligible non-city property >50,000 gross sq. ft. Annually, starting on December 1, 2017 Annually, starting on May 1, 2018 Annually, starting on September 1, 2019 May 1, 2020

 

The Vision of Orlando, Florida
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As of February 2020, Orlando is one of 18 U.S. cities that have adopted benchmarking policies and one of seven that have adopted some type of audit and retro-commissioning codes or ordinances. However, the City has a much broader vision, in the words of its longstanding Mayor, Buddy Dyer, “to transform Orlando into one of the most environmentally-friendly, economically and socially vibrant communities in the nation.”

Following the 2013 Green Works Orlando Community Action Plan, the City has been strategizing and implementing sustainability initiatives formulated in line with goals set for 2040, including the collection of the most complete and accurate data possible.

The Plan was updated in 2018 to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that address critical global issues. This was the same year energy benchmarking was implemented.

The Concept of Energy Benchmarking

Benchmarking is seen as an important best-management practice and by publicly disclosing the energy performance of buildings – which is what the City of Orlando is doing – it is hoped that transparency and accountability will be encouraged and promoted.

The energy scores of buildings are likened to miles-per-gallon ratings for vehicles and nutritional labels on food. So, by sharing information about energy use and estimated utility costs, buyers and potential tenants of buildings are better-informed to make decisions about the buildings where they will live and work.

There are, of course, multiple variables that apply to benchmarking, and therefore impact on its usefulness. This includes the number and size of the buildings to be benchmarked as well as the sources of energy provided by the city in question. But those U.S. cities that have pursued well-designed policies and programs that address their largest buildings are able to reduce building-based energy consumption by at least 5-10%. In financial terms, this saves residents and businesses hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Implemented in 2011 for the 2010 calendar year, New York’s benchmarking and transparency policy has, according to the Department of Energy (DOE), resulted in cumulative savings of more than $267 million (or 5.7%) over the first four years. The policy also reduced carbon emissions by 9% during this time. San Francisco’s benchmarking policy, also in effect since 2010, resulted in a cumulative 7.9% reduction in energy use over the same period.

Benefits of Energy Benchmarking
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According to the City of Orlando, their BEWES policy covers less than 4% of all the buildings in the City, which seems minimal until you realize that these account for about 70% of the total energy used by all the buildings in Orlando!

Generally, the more energy-efficient internal spaces are the lower energy bills will be. Additionally, it is an accepted fact that energy-efficiency improves the comfort of occupants, reduces the rate of asthma and similar conditions, and increases productivity. These factors make energy-efficient buildings more appealing for future buyers and tenants.

In 2015, The Greenlink Group undertook an impact study for the City that examined the overall benefits and impacts of BEWES to 2030. It found that the new policy would:

  • Save as much as $208 million in energy costs.
  • Improve comfort and productivity as a result of planned building energy efficiency enhancements.
  • Improve the air quality inside buildings because energy-efficient buildings consume less power and therefore result in fewer emissions.
  • Reduce health care costs by an estimated $57 million primarily because of improved air quality that reduces asthma and other similar respiratory conditions.
  • Increase economic development because of the reduced operating costs of these big buildings coupled with increased asset values and the improved productivity of workers.
  • Create hundreds of new, high-wage jobs as a result of increased economic development. A figure of 500 was cited.
  • Reduce the constraints on water supply by reducing energy demand and the consequential high volumes of water usage associated with the generation of electric power.
  • Conserve 900 million gallons of fresh water as a result of reduced water supply constraints – a critical factor in light of increasing global water scarcity.
  • Enhance our resilience to water- and energy-related emergencies.
  • Avoid as much as 1.1 million metric tons of carbon pollution.
  • Improve competitiveness nationally and promote Orlando as one of the top sustainable cities in the U.S. This was seen as key to attracting new businesses and investments that would ensure Orlando would ultimately succeed in the global marketplace.

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Outline of Orlando’s BEWES Policy

Orlando, Florida’s city council launched its Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy (BEWES) in 2016 following a unanimous vote supporting the new policy, which now tracks the energy and water output of the city’s largest buildings.

The motivation behind the move was to assist local commercial owners of property, specifically to:

  • Increase the efficiency of their building operations
  • Save businesses and residents money
  • Encourage actions that will lead to a healthier, cleaner environment

A primary concern is the financial waste caused by porous window seals, poor insulation, and poor heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, all of which contribute substantially to the City’s air pollution problems.

The policy kicked in on August 1, 2018, from which date all city-owned buildings with a floor area of more than 10,000 gross square feet and all commercial and multifamily buildings above 50,000 gross square feet are required to use the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to calculate the building’s energy benchmarking score.

To achieve this score, building owners, or designated benchmarking leaders who might be property managers or third-party energy consultants, must track “whole-building energy use” using the Portfolio Manager tool. This relates to electricity use, as well as the use of natural gas and other fuels used in common spaces as well as spaces occupied by the owner or tenants.

Water is not required for the BEWES policy, but water benchmarking is highly recommended and encouraged, with the exception of water used for fire pipes and emergencies.

The BEWES ordinance has three important parts:

  1. Benchmark energy use, discussed above, which is annual, and which was first implemented in May 2018.
  2. Information transparency, which is also annual, and which involves all collected data being included in an annual City of Orlando report and online mapping tool that analyzes energy, gas, and water use within the City from September 2019.
  3. Energy audits or retro-commissioning which are required once every five years, beginning in May 2020. Any buildings that score less than 50 out of 100, which is the national average, must either perform an energy audit or undertake retro-commissioning of their base building systems to make them more energy-efficient.
Value of Energy Audits & Retro-Commissioning

Building owners often ask us how an energy audit would improve their energy benchmarking score.

In a nutshell, an audit will provide building owners with information that will help them to improve the energy performance of the building. Ultimately, this means that if they do it properly, they can reduce utility bills, and maintenance and operating costs, and benefit from increased property values.

While audits generally call for replacements and often expensive alterations to systems, retro-commissioning may be a less expensive option for improving system operations and extending the life of equipment.

The Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) provides free energy audits that are eligible for compliance for those who don’t want to consult with a professional company.

But often building owners decide to pursue options beyond the free program or to retro-commission instead. If this is your choice, be sure to consider property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing options as well as the various rebates and incentives on offer form the OUC. There are also energy efficiency programs that incorporate financing mechanisms.

Compliance & Enforcement
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Building Energy Benchmarking is a general ordinance published in the Code of the City of Orlando, Florida. While mandatory for the buildings mentioned earlier, it is not a draconian law, but rather a set of regulations that aim to make Orlando healthier and more prosperous.

So, for instance, the ordinance provides resources that enable building owners to improve benchmarking scores and also allows them time to participate voluntarily before their scores are made public. This gives them time to make improvements and to address any concerns they might have.

It isn’t difficult to comply with Orlando’s benchmarking requirements, and New York Engineers is able to help.

  1. Once eligibility is determined, buildings are provided with an ID.
  2. A benchmarking leader must be identified. If one of our engineers is appointed, we will need authorization forms from you.
  3. The benchmarking leader will share their contact information with the City.
  4. The benchmarking leader creates an ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account.
  5. The benchmarking leader obtains monthly whole-building energy and water data for the previous year, for instance, January to December 2019.

If there are multiple tenants in buildings, we will also need to submit tenant authorization forms to the various utility companies so we can obtain data use information from them.

Violations and enforcement of the benchmarking ordinance are in keeping with the general commitment of the City to act in the interests of businesses and residents. They are also formulated in accordance with the desire for transparency. So, instead of threatening fines, they make it easy for potential buyers and tenants to see which buildings are compliant, and they offer recognition and an annual award!

  • Properties that successfully comply with the ordinance are publicly recognized as “participating” on the City website.
  • Those that are exempt are marked “exempt.”
  • Those that fail to comply are notified by the City and then identified as “not participating” in the report and on the benchmarking map.
  • Properties that comply even though they are not required to be benchmarked are described as “voluntarily participating.”
  • A suitable annual award recognizing excellence in energy benchmarking will be implemented.
ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

Developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free online tool designed for tracking and measuring energy and water consumption as well as greenhouse gas emissions, in this way measuring the carbon footprint of the building. It is the preferred tool for benchmarking the performance of buildings.

Portfolio Manager uses energy and water consumption information together with characteristics of the building to produce a per square foot energy consumption figure that is “normalized” for climate and space use.

It can also be used to manage the energy and water use of buildings, and to set energy-use targets in new buildings.

The process is simple, all you do is enter consumption data, details of operational use, and information about costs, and the software will enable you to track more than 100 different metrics.

Portfolio Manager determines the energy performance of buildings and will establish which are eligible for ENERGY STAR certification. It can also be used to verify and track energy savings.

Portfolio Manager scores were last updated in August 2018.

What Happens to the Data?

The data collected during the benchmarking process is published in an annual report produced by the City and is incorporated in its online mapping tool that analyzes the energy and water used within the City of Orlando from September 2019.

Information in the City reports includes:

  • Property address, type and use, and gross floor area.
  • Energy output:
    • Intensity of site energy use
    • Intensity of weather-normalized source energy
    • Total annual greenhouse gas emissions
    • ENERGY STAR score if available
  • Compliance or noncompliance status.

By understanding how large city buildings use energy and water, the Orlando authorities can develop effective measures that will help to reduce the environmental footprint of the City.

Do you want to submit a benchmarking report for your Orlando building?

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