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Minnesota’s LEED Buildings Join the Energy Benchmarking Trend

A initiative launched by the Minnesota Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council will collect, report and assess the energy performance of more than 150 commercial buildings throughout the state.

The Performance Metrics Strategy Initiative was created to provide a benchmark for LEED-certified buildings in Minnesota. The program, which will be aided by energy management software company EnergyPrint, also aims to shape state and local policies around sustainable building, energy use and water efficiency, according to USGBC-Minnesota.

The initiative will focus on energy and water use and will identify areas for improvement. The benchmark provides a numeric score for energy performance and can help establish a baseline for investment decisions, staff or contractor evaluations, and environmental and efficiency goals.

St. Paul, Minn.-based EnergyPrint will collect each building’s energy and water use data, analyze it and generate insights based on the results. The company will offer a free 90-day subscription for its energy management dashboard to each building participating in the initiative.

Other U.S. cities, including San Francisco and Seattle, have launched energy benchmark efforts. However, in both cases, the benchmark programs were backed by legislation.

San Francisco’s city council adopted last year regulations requiring commercial property owners to publish data on the energy performance of their buildings. Under the legislation, building owners must benchmark their energy using a free online tool provided by the EPA and have to file annual results with the city. The law followed state legislation that requires commercial building owners to disclose their property’s energy consumption to buyers, lessees or lenders.

Seattle’s city council created the Building Energy Benchmarking and Reporting program, which requires owners of nonresidential buildings more than 10,000 square feet and multifamily buildings with of more units to benchmark and report their energy performance by April 1, 2012. Owners of buildings 50,000 square feet and larger were required to release building energy performance last fall.

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