Benchmarking is not required if you own an individual building less than 50,000 square feet OR if any of the following apply to your building
(a) it meets any of the exemptions defined for a covered city property.
(b) the director determines that, due to special circumstances unique to the facility and not based on a condition caused by actions of the applicant, strict compliance with provisions of this ordinance would cause undue hardship.
(c) the property qualifies as having a financial hardship.
(d) the property is considered "industry," "manufacturing" or is part of a theme park.
(e) substantially all of the such non-city property is used for telecommunications infrastructure.
(f) more than three meters are associated with the property and
(i) the electric utility does not provide whole-building data aggregation services.
(ii) the owner doesn't have access to master meters or any other means.
If you qualify to be exempt, please fill out the exemption request form and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than March 15 of the current compliance season.
Financial hardship refers to a property that is currently experiencing any of the following:
- Had arrears of property taxes, water or waste water charges that resulted in the property's inclusion, within two years prior to the due date of a summary audit/retro-commissioning report, on the Orange County Property Appraiser's annual tax lien sale list.
- Has a court appointed receiver is in control of the asset due to financial distress.
- Is owned by a financial institution through default by the borrower.
- Has been acquired by a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
- Has a senior mortgage subject to a notice of default.
Single building with multiple owners
Covered buildings with multiple owners, including condominiums, must benchmark, verify, and report for the entire building. Only one report is required per property and in cases where a building has multiple owners, managers, and/or agents, all are encouraged to collaborate to ensure that one annual report is submitted.
Multiple buildings with shared energy systems
If multiple buildings (at least one of which is covered by the ordinance) share one or more energy-consuming systems (ex: boilers, electricity meters, district chilled water, etc.), they may benchmark, verify, and report as a single property across the entire combined floor area of all affected buildings.
Possible exception: If the separate buildings are sub-metered, or if it’s possible to make reasonable calculations/assumptions to allocate energy use to each individual building, the building(s) may benchmark, verify, and report separately. Benchmarking each building separately may be the best option if a covered building shares energy-consuming systems with a building that would not otherwise be covered by the ordinance (i.e. a 75,000 sq. ft. building that is covered shares a boiler with an adjacent 25,000 sq. ft. building that is not covered). This may also be the best option if the buildings in question are owned and/or managed separately.
If a building makes an assumption to allocate energy consumption for a shared system, it must be made in good faith and should be reviewed during the required data verification process.
Note: If multiple buildings with the same owner (such as a campus or multi-building complex) have separate energy consuming systems, any covered buildings (that meet size and use type requirements) should benchmark separately.
Tracking common areas' energy use separately from tenants' use
In addition to aggregated energy use data, Portfolio Manager allows for the user to track any gas or electric account through separate meters within a given building. However, the individual completing the benchmarking will need to ensure that there is no duplicated usage in the data reported to the city. Any requests for whole-building usage data from the utility will already include any common area space.
Reporting attached parking garages
When a parking garage is directly attached to a building, the square footage should not be included in gross floor area, since Portfolio Manager focuses on the energy use of the building interior. For example, the size of a building with 100,000 sq. ft. of office space and 20,000 sq. ft. of parking would be entered as 100,000 square feet into Portfolio Manager. Users may be prompted to enter information on parking area, but it will not count towards the gross floor area.
Standalone parking garages
In the case of a detached parking garage, EPA recommends that it is categorized as “Other” building type when creating the building profile in Portfolio Manager. The benchmarker should not select “My building’s energy use includes parking areas.” Instead, the total square footage of the garage (i.e., including parking spaces) should be entered as the covered area of the building. This will prevent any erroneous error messages throughout the benchmarking process.