What is Building IQ?

    Check out this explainer video for Building IQ to learn the basics!

    What is benchmarking?

    Benchmarking is tracking a building’s energy and water use over time. It gives owners and managers the tools to:

    • Understand a building’s energy performance relative to similar buildings
    • Identify irregularities and other opportunities to decrease energy waste and costs
    • Measure potential return on investment for upgrades or improvements

    The simple act of benchmarking can reduce energy use by 2-3% in most buildings; not to mention the opportunities for additional savings that can be uncovered.

    Why is Building IQ important?

    Buildings are responsible for 58% of greenhouse gas emissions in Aspen. Building IQ aims to lower long-term energy costs for building owners and tenants, while tackling building emissions to protect Aspen’s environment. 

    Benchmarking is one of the top priority projects that the City of Aspen is initiating to help reach Aspen’s Climate Action Plan goal of reducing emissions 80% by 2050.

    What is beyond benchmarking?

    ‘Beyond benchmarking’ refers to energy efficiency building upgrades. Building IQ connects eligible building owners with funding and services for such projects in their spaces. These upgrades often look like in-depth property visits to uncover the biggest opportunities to lower utility bills, which may include lighting upgrades, dialing in controls, or HVAC system improvements.

    How do you benchmark?

    The City of Aspen is utilizing Portfolio Manager, the EPA’s online platform that is used by over 30 U.S. cities with benchmarking policies and houses benchmarking data for over 40% of all U.S. commercial building space. Building owners will need to input gas, electric, and water utility data into this platform on an annual basis. The Building IQ team estimates it will takbetween 2-4 hours a year to benchmark a building once an account is set up with building characteristics like use type, occupancy, year built, and square footage.

    Who will be impacted?

    First, municipal buildings will be benchmarked along with privately owned buildings that volunteer to be part of this first phase. Subsequently, large commercial buildings, followed by large multi-family buildings. Owners will be notified one year prior to their building being required to participate.

    What if we are already benchmarking utilizing other tools?

    That is GREAT! All we need you to do is enter the same utility bill information into Portfolio Manager.

    Are there any incentives to participate?

    Currently, the City of Aspen, the Community Office for Resource Efficiency, as well as local utilities, City of Aspen staff are reaching out to building owners, managers, and engineers to better understand what incentives and support would be attractive and meaningful to compliment this program. If you have ideas, please share!

    How much will it cost?

    There is no charge to building owners or to the City of Aspen to use the Portfolio Manager platform for benchmarking. After a few years (timing to be determined by Aspen City Council) of benchmarking, additional action may be required (i.e. energy saving improvements). The City of Aspen will have incentives in place by that time through partnership with CORE, local utilities, and the C-PACE financing program to support those mandatory building improvements.

    What support will be offered to help building owners through the process?

    We want to know what types of support would be meaningful to you! Other cities with benchmarking ordinances have created help desks (virtual and/or in person), held trainings, and offered one-on-one support. The City of Aspen is reaching out to building representatives to learn more about what types of support would be most useful in Aspen.

    What are the benefits of Building IQ?

    The two most important benefits are conserving energy and saving money. There are many other benefits including helping building owners understand and manage their buildings’ energy use, marketing buildings in compliance as efficient and high-performing, stimulating a local economy of green jobs, and supporting global environmental action with local initiatives.