San Francisco Department of the Environment

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Frequently Asked Benchmarking Questions

Submitting a Benchmark

How do I submit a benchmark?
When is my building’s benchmark due?
Can you do it for me?
I've submitted a benchmark and haven’t heard back.
How do I reset my Energy Star Portfolio Manager Username/Password?
How do I reauthorize my PG&E data to Energy Star Portfolio Manager?
I’m having issues getting my energy data from tenants.

Fixing Common Benchmark Errors

My benchmark was not approved because of temporary values.
My benchmark was not approved because of default values.
My benchmark was not approved because <12 Months of data.
My site EUI/Energy Star Score is outside of typical bounds.

Applying for an Exemption

Can I be granted an extension/exemption?
Does my building qualify for an exemption?
How do i apply for a benchmark exemption?


Submitting a Benchmark

How do I submit a benchmark?

Please visit How to Comply with Benchmarking in San Francisco to learn how to properly submit your benchmark.

When is my building’s benchmark due?

Every year on April 1. Please look up your compliance summary here.

Can you do it for me?

No. Your ENERGY STAR account is private and password-protected. SF Environment cannot access your account or remotely insert report templates.

I've submitted a benchmark and haven't heard back.

Benchmarks are processed in the order they are received. When you submit a benchmark, you receive an email confirmation from Energy Star that the report was sent. When SF Environment reviews your benchmark you will receive a “Confirmation of Energyr Benchmark Summary” email from benchmark@sfenvironment.org.

The compliance status of your building is also a matter of public record and posted on DataSF.org. The compliance map is not a real time record and only reflects the compliance status when SF Environment most recently refreshed the data. The “Confirmation of Energy Benchmark Summary” email sent out after SF Environment reviews a submitted benchmark also includes a compliance summary.

How do I reset my Energy Star Portfolio Manager Username/Password?

If you’ve misplaced the password for Portfolio Manager, try Password recovery for Energy Star Portfolio Manager

Your organization’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager account is password protected and managed by US EPA. San Francisco Department of Environment does not have access to any user IDs or passwords. For more comprehensive assistance please visit the Energy Star Portfolio Manager FAQ or request assistance from the USEPA.

How do I reauthorize my PG&E data to Energy Star Portfolio Manager?

To re-authorize web services for Portfolio Manager, see these detailed instructions.

I’m having issues getting my energy data from tenants.

The best practice to engage a tenant is for the owner to notify the tenant in writing that benchmarking is required by law in San Francisco, and present the tenant with a letter detailing the following, along with the following:

  • A copy of the notice from SF Environment
  • Copy of the ordinance (summary or full legalese)
  • Reference to the (standard) section of the lease where the tenant agrees to not put the owner in violation of applicable state, local, and federal law
  • Reference to the section of the lease where the tenant consents to pass-through of cost for regulatory compliance, and penalties for failure to comply due to action or inaction of the tenant
  • The PG&E Guide to Releasing your Data for Benchmarking.

Benchmarking requires energy use information for the entire building. There is not an exemption for non-responsive tenants, and PG&E does not provide whole-building aggregated data.

A building owner in San Francisco who has benchmarked in compliance with the city ordinance should be well prepared to comply with AB 1103, which will require the same data to be assembled in Portfolio Manager prior to the sale, lease, or refinance of any whole commercial building over 5,000 square feet. AB 1103 began implementation January 2014.

 

Fixing Common Benchmark Errors

My benchmark was not approved because of temporary values.

Property Use Details are causing a flag on the building. Property Use Details are the descriptors like "Gross Floor Area", # of computers on main shift, etc that are set for each individual area/use that you've described in Portfolio Manager. Among those use details for at least one space, something is indicated as a temporary value, or (more likely) was entered as having a beginning date that was after Jan 1, 2014. (There are beginning & ending dates because the number of employees on a shift and operating hours may change periodically, and even gross floor area changes if there's a major addition or renovation that affects the envelope.) Please try the following:

Log into Portfolio Manager

  • Log into www.energystar.com/portfoliomanager with your Portfolio Manager username and password.
  • Click on the property that contains temporary values to open its summary page.
  • Click on the details tab.

Correcting Property Details

  • Under “Property Uses and Use Details” click on the right facing triangle to show the property use details for each property use type. (You may only have one property use type)
  • A property use type contains temporary values if the temporary value field says “Yes”. (All of these values need to be updated.)
  • Once you determine which property use has the temporary values, under the “Action” drop down menu select “I want to ... Correct Mistakes”.
  • The history log has now opened up. Go through each of the boxes and uncheck the temporary value boxes. Make sure to update values with the correct information.
  • Once the boxes have been unchecked and the values have been replaced with actual values. Click Save Corrections.
  • Confirm that there are no “default” or temporary values then please resubmit the energy benchmark.

If there are no temporary values for all spaces in the building, please email benchmark@sfenvironment.org.

My benchmark was not approved because of default values.

Benchmarks are not accepted with default values as it does not provide accurate information for your building. SF Environment will only accept Annual Energy Benchmark Summaries with actual values. Please uncheck the "Use a Default" box and enter actual space use data for your building, and finally resubmit the benchmark. To correct default values, please try the following:

Log into Portfolio Manager

  • Log into www.energystar.com/portfoliomanager with your Portfolio Manager username and password.
  • Click on the property that contains default or temporary values to open its summary page.
  • Click on the details tab.

Correcting Property Details

  • Under “Property Uses and Use Details” click on the right facing triangle to show the property use details for each property use type. (You may only have one property use type)
  • A property use type contains “default” values if “default value” is in parentheses adjacent to the value. (All of these values need to be updated.)
  • Once you determine which property use has the default, under the “Action” drop down menu select “I want to ... Correct Mistakes”.
  • The history log has now opened up. Go through each of the boxes and uncheck “Use a default” boxes. Make sure to update values with the correct information.
  • Once the boxes have been unchecked and the values have been replaced with actual values. Click Save Corrections.
  • Confirm that there are no “default” or temporary values then please resubmit the energy benchmark.

My benchmark was not approved because <12 Months of data.

Review to make sure there is energy use data for all dates in the year you are benchmarking (from January 1 through Dec 31). Since meters are frequently not read on the first or last day of the month, you may need to have 13 months of data so that the usage data begins before Jan 1 and ends after Dec 31.

If data is missing, either re-authorize web services for the meter, enter the data by hand, or follow up by email requesting support from PG&E and then resubmit the benchmark once the benchmark is complete.

My site EUI/Energy Star Score is outside of typical bounds.

Double check that all property and energy use data for the benchmark is complete and accurate. A site EUI or Energy Star Score outside typical bounds could be due to an incorrect building square footage or a missing energy meter. Fix any errors and resubmit the benchmark. If all information was complete and accurate, email benchmark@sfenvironment.org confirming that you checked and information submitted was complete and accurate.

 

Applying for an Exemption

Can I be granted an extension?

No. For benchmarks, there are only three possible situations: each building has either complied, not complied, or qualified for an exemption. We cannot not offer extensions to individual buildings for benchmarking reports. If you’re having trouble, a benchmarking consultant may be able to help.

Does my building qualify for an exemption?

It depends. If you do qualify for an exemption you will need to scroll to the end of the exemption section and follow the “apply for exemption” instructions. To find out if you may qualify for an exemption, please see the information below.

I am the new owner of my building, am I exempt from submitting a benchmark?

In cases where a building has been sold and it is absolutely not possible to obtain complete energy use data for a year due to the sale of a building, Dept of Environment will accept a statement of inability to comply in lieu of a benchmark report for the year of the transaction, as well as the years prior to the transaction. Apply for an exemption.

There was a tenant turnover in my building last year, am I exempt from submitting a benchmark?

When a tenant that purchases energy directly from the utility moves out, the owner may have no mechanism whatsoever to obtain energy use data from the utility. Under such circumstances, the owner may apply for a one-year exemption from the benchmarking requirement. Apply for an exemption.

My building is vacant, am I exempt from submitting a benchmark?

If your facility averaged less than 1 person on site during the building’s typical operating hours over the prior calendar year, the ordinance does not apply and benchmarking is not required. Apply for an exemption.

My building has LEED EBOM or ENERGY STAR certification, am I exempt from benchmarking?

No. Buildings that demonstrate excellent energy performance are still required to benchmark annually under San Francisco’s Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance.

My building is less than 10,000 sqft. Am I exempt from the ordinance?

Yes. If your facility is smaller than 10,000 square feet the ordinance does not apply and benchmarking is not required. Apply for an exemption.

My building has less than 10,000 sqft. of conditioned space, am I exempt from the ordinance?

Yes. If your facility does not have at least 10,000 square feet of conditioned space, the ordinance does not apply and benchmarking is not required. Apply for an exemption.

My building qualifies as new construction, am I exempt from the ordinance?

If your facility averaged less than 1 person on site during the building’s typical operating hours over the prior calendar year, the ordinance does not apply and neither benchmarking nor audits are required. Apply for an exemption.

My building is scheduled, or already is, demolished. Am I exempt from the ordinance?

If your facility has written approval from a city agency to be demolished (or for the site to be developed in a manner that necessitates demolition), neither benchmarking nor audits are required.

If a new commercial building larger than 10,000 square feet is constructed, the Existing Commercial Buildings ordinance requires benchmarking to resume within 24 months of issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy (or equivalent) by the Department of Building Inspection. Apply for an exemption.

My building is a Single Room Occupancy (SRO) facility. Am I exempt from the ordinance?

Yes. If there are residential units on site, the ordinance does not apply and benchmarking is not required. Apply for an exemption.

My building is a residential facility. Am I exempt from the ordinance?

Yes. If there are residential units on site, the ordinance does not apply and benchmarking is not required. Apply for an exemption.

Apply for an Exemption

Please fill out the Benchmarking Exemption Request or email benchmark@sfenvironment.org:

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