Tenants in Denver Commit to Ask About Energy Efficiency

October 16, 2015 | Katrina Managan

Denver’s building owners and tenants are increasingly recognizing the value of energy efficiency and what it means to their bottom line and they learn more each day about how their buildings use energy. To further drive this exploration and awareness and to better recognize tenants committed to energy efficiency, Denver has created the Lease for Efficiency Challenge.

Launched by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock on October 15 at an event attended by about 100 of Denver’s building owners, managers, tenants and energy efficiency businesses, the Lease for Efficiency Challenge asks business tenants to commit to ask about the energy efficiency of a building during the leasing process. To date, 44 businesses representing nearly 2.5 million square feet of commercial office space in Denver have signed on, pledging to ask about a building’s 1-100 ENERGY STAR score when leasing space. (Above, Mayor Hancock speaks to the launch event crowd.)

An ENERGY STAR score offers both owners and tenants with an easy-to-evaluate energy efficiency metric and simply asking for this score can foster larger discussions and more-informed decision making during the leasing process.

At the event, Mayor Hancock 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. (You can access the full list of participants in the Benchmarking Program and the Lease for Efficiency Challenge at www.denvergov.org/cep.)

Research has shown that better management of building energy use could generate $1.3 billion in energy savings from Denver’s largest commercial and multifamily buildings.* For building owners and tenants, that’s a direct return to the bottom line, and an economic boost for Denver as a more globally competitive city that attracts businesses and workers of the future. Illustrating this point at the event, Kelly Brough, CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the Chamber’s success at cutting its energy use by 30 percent, taking its building’s ENERGY STAR score from 45 to 80 and saving $40,000 per year on energy bills in the process. (Read a deeper case study on this project here.)

The potential is huge. To that point, last month, a report released by the nonpartisan group Environmental Entrepreneurs and the Colorado-based Energy Efficiency Business Coalition, found that improving the energy efficiency of offices, homes, schools, and other buildings around Colorado, could cut energy costs by $4.8 billion and create 7,000 jobs over the next decade. These are massive—and currently untapped—benefits.

In Denver, benchmarking and investments in energy efficiency improvements aren’t just for the private sector. The City and County of Denver is leading the way, having committed to reducing energy use in city-operated buildings (representing more than 6 million square feet of space) by 20 percent from a 2011 baseline by 2020.

Denver buildings are sitting on an untapped wealth of savings. Tenants and owners alike are becoming more savvy about the need to unlock this economic potential and the Lease for Efficiency Challenge is the latest step down this path.  To learn more about this project, visit Denvergov.org/CEP.  Or, contact us at DenverCEP@denvergov.org.

* Savings estimates are scaled to the City and County of Denver based on models published in "United States Building Efficiency Retrofits: Market Sizing and Financial Models," from the Rockefeller Foundation and Deutsche Bank Group, March 2012.

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Katrina Managan

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