Frequently asked questions about complying with the Energy Performance Reporting Policy for Commercial Buildings
Annual Reporting Process
When is the annual report due?
What if I am not going to meet the reporting deadline?
If you cannot meet the April 22 reporting deadline due to extenuating circumstances (e.g. waiting on energy use data from a utility or tenants, newly hired to an organization, etc.), you should request an extension using the online form. You will need to identify the building(s) by entering the assigned Portland Building ID, provide the reason for requesting the extension, and a new proposed reporting deadline.
You can find the Portland Building ID on any compliance notifications you’ve received, or by using the online Find Your Building ID tool.
Where do I start if I’m new to this process and need to set up a new building profile for reporting to the City?
The How-to Guide for New Users will guide you step-by-step through the process and is the best reference for first-time reporters. You may also seek assistance learning about the process from the City’s Energy Reporting Help Desk at 503-823-7070 or email@example.com.
If I already have my building set up in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®, what do I need to do to report each year?
Generally, you will need to ensure your contact information, Portland Building ID, and property use details are up-to-date. You will need to add monthly energy use data for the entire calendar year for which reporting is due to your account (if not already uploaded through an automated service). You will then submit the annual report to the City using the reporting template for that specific year.
Visit the Submit your building energy usage data page for more information.
Do I need to track water usage or waste metrics to include in my report?
No. The commercial building energy performance reporting requirements are to track and report building energy use. This includes electrical consumption as well as natural gas, if applicable. The water and waste tracking functions in Portfolio Manager are optional for building owners that wish to use the tool to track other sustainability metrics for their building. The report that you submit through Portfolio Manager does not provide the City with water or waste metrics, so we will not be able to view any data you have entered in that portion of your account.
Will I be penalized if my building has a low ENERGY STAR score or a high Energy Use Intensity (EUI)?
No. The ordinance only requires tracking and reporting of energy performance information. That information is made publicly available to provide greater market transparency. There is no penalty for high energy use. High energy use may indicate building inefficiencies, but in some cases, may also be due to the type of operations occurring within the building.
What should I do if I am struggling to complete the reporting process or have a lot of questions?
The Submit your building energy usage data page offers step-by-step instructions for completing the reporting process.
You may also contact the City of Portland’s Energy Reporting Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-823-7070 during regular business hours for assistance. However, please note that during peak periods (e.g. directly following a mass email notification or close to the April 22 reporting deadline), it can sometimes take up to two business days to receive a response.
The City also offers hands-on assistance at drop-in help sessions hosted at Bureau of Planning and Sustainability offices in downtown Portland leading up to the reporting deadline. If you need in-person assistance outside of those hours, please contact the help desk to discuss additional options.
How will I know whether the City of Portland has received my annual report?
When you submit the report to the City through Portfolio Manager, the email address registered to the account used to submit the report will automatically receive an email with the report as an attachment. You can add other email addresses to receive the report in the final report submission step.
In addition, about a month following the April 22 reporting deadline, the City sends the building’s primary contact for coordinating compliance an email confirmation that the report has been received. If the report contains errors, the primary contact will receive a notification describing the error and instructions for correcting the error and resubmitting the report. If your building’s primary contact information has changed, be sure to update it by using the Establish/Update Building Contact online form.
What if I don’t think my building meets the minimum 20,000 square feet threshold for reporting under the policy?
You will need to calculate the building’s Gross Floor Area (GFA) and provide confirmation to the City that the building is less than 20,000 square feet. GFA is the standard metric used under the policy to determine building size and it is also the metric used in the reporting tool, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. A building’s GFA is not equivalent to rentable or leasable space. GFA includes all areas within the exterior walls of a building, excluding the exceptions noted in the definition provided below.
GFA is the total building square footage, as measured between the principal exterior surfaces of the enclosing fixed walls of the building. This includes all finished areas inside the building including supporting areas. GFA includes ALL areas inside the building such as tenant spaces, common areas, meeting rooms, break rooms, restrooms, elevator shafts, mechanical equipment areas and storage rooms. Do not include any exterior spaces such as balconies or exterior loading docks and driveways. In the case where there is an atrium, only the base floor area should be counted. Do not increase the size to accommodate open atrium space at higher levels.
My building is already ENERGY STAR certified—do I still need to complete an annual report?
Yes. You may use the same Portfolio Manager building profile you used to apply for the certification to submit the report to the City. You will just need to add the Portland Building ID and complete the final report submission step. These are described in steps 4 and 5 of the How-to Guides.
Buildings with recent ENERGY STAR certifications will be recognized in the City’s online mapping tool for energy performance reporting.
What if I cannot complete the energy reporting process because I do not have 12 full months of energy usage data?
Depending on the reason for the missing data, you may qualify for an exemption for the reporting year. Visit the Exemptions page to review the specific qualifying conditions and, if applicable, apply for an exemption using the online form. Contact the Energy Reporting Help Desk at email@example.com or 503-823-7070 if you need assistance determining whether you may qualify for an exemption.
The exemption request will be reviewed by the policy coordinator and you will receive a communication confirming whether the request has been approved or denied.
Who is responsible for reporting if I own the property but do not own or operate the building?
Under the City’s ordinance, the property owner is ultimately responsible for complying with the policy. The property owner may elect to designate an agent, such as a building owner or operator, to be responsible for compliance. By doing so, the City will send any compliance notifications directly to the designated agent. The property owner would not receive any notifications unless the designated agent is unresponsive. The property owner is responsible for notifying the building owner or operator that they have been designated as an agent and for submitting new designated agent information if the building owner or operator changes.
Visit our designating an agent page to learn more.
Who is responsible for reporting if the building changed ownership during the calendar year for which reporting is due?
Under the ordinance, the reporting responsibility falls upon the owner in possession of the building at the time of the April 22 reporting deadline. However, it also requires the previous owner to provide the new owner with any information needed to compile the report within 30 days of the close of sale.
How do I account for parking areas in Portfolio Manager?
If the parking area is separately metered, you do not need to account for it in the building’s Gross Floor Area (GFA) or enter its energy use.
If the energy use of the parking area – surface lot or fully or partially enclosed garage – is included in a meter that also serves other parts of the building, then it needs to be entered as a property use type so that Portfolio Manager can account for it.
What if my building contains multiple types of uses?
A building is required to report under the policy if more than 50 percent of a building’s Gross Floor Area (GFA) is dedicated to commercial use types covered by the policy.
When you set up your building’s profile in Portfolio Manager, you will select a primary property use type. You will then be able to further refine the profile by assigning additional property use types, if needed. Read the definition of a property use type before selecting it. In some cases, if an additional use type is small enough, it may not need to be entered separately. For example, a ground floor retailer or café may not need a separate property use type if they are located within a large office tower.
Can you view my building information in real time through Portfolio Manager?
No. In the final step of the reporting process, you will submit the report to the City via Portfolio Manager. Instructions are included in Step 5 on the Submit your building energy usage data page.
If you need to make any corrections to your report after the initial submission, you must resubmit the report by completing Step 5 again.
What if my building had vacancies during the year?
A building is still required to report if there is a partial or full vacancy during the year. Buildings with primary property types of Office, Medical Office, Bank, Financial Center or Courthouse should account for the vacancy within their building profile as described by Portfolio Manager. For these building types, as well as Hotels, you should also be sure to update the Occupancy of the building in the Details tab as well.
For all other building types, the vacancy does not need to be accounted for in your building profile, but you may wish to communicate that there was a vacancy in the Property Notes section of the building profile to explain a year-to-year difference in energy usage.
If a building was wholly unoccupied during the entire calendar year and/or there was no energy service delivered to the building for one or more months, the building may qualify to apply for an exemption.
Energy Usage Data
How do I get energy usage data for my building?
There are a couple of different ways you can obtain energy usage data for your building:
- You may already have records containing the information from your own paper bills, online account with your utility, or other tracking or building management tools.
- You can request whole-building aggregated utility data for the building from your utility by providing them with the meter numbers serving the building.
You may wish to use the second option if you have a tenant-occupied building where tenants are billed separately, there are a lot of meters serving the building, or if you cannot locate or access historical utility billing records.
Learn more on Step 3 of the Submit your building energy usage data page.
Am I required to include natural gas use in my annual report?
Yes. All energy consumed within the building must be tracked and reported.
How do I get meter numbers to submit to the utility?
If you plan to request aggregated whole-building energy use data from your utility, you must provide the meter numbers for all meters serving the building. You may be able to find the meter number using the following methods:
- Paper or online monthly billing statement
- Buildings records or site plans
- The physical meter (commonly located on the exterior of the building or in an interior utility closet)
For tenant-occupied buildings where tenants are billed separately, you may need to request the meter number from tenants.
More information about each utility’s recommendations for identifying your meter number can be found on Step 3 of the Submit your building energy usage data page.
What if I have a solar installation on my property?
Portfolio Manager can accommodate benchmarking energy performance if on-site solar is supplying energy to the building. However, the building owner must understand if and how the energy produced by the installation is used within the building. You will need to obtain information showing how much energy the installation generates on a monthly basis, how much of energy is exported off-site (if applicable), and how much supplemental energy is purchased for the building from the grid.
For more information, visit ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager’s Green Power Technical Reference.
How do I find the required Portland Building ID for my building?
Your building’s Portland Building ID appears on most compliance notifications you receive from the City. You may also reference the City’s Building ID Lookup Tool and enter the building’s address. Identify the individual Building ID that corresponds with the physical footprint of your building as shown on the map.
You should be able to identify a single Building ID to represent your building. If you are not able to do so, please contact the City of Portland’s Energy Reporting Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-823-7070 for assistance and to discuss whether your building may need a Campus ID.
How do I add or edit the Portland, OR Building ID in my building’s profile?
- Log in to your Portfolio Manager account and navigate to the building’s profile.
- Go to the Details tab.
- Navigate to the Unique Identifiers (IDs) box in the middle of the page on the left side and click Edit.
- Under Standard IDs (bottom of page), select Portland Building ID from the drop-down list and enter (or edit) your unique identification number, including hyphens, in the adjacent field. Once entered, click Save.
Your building’s Portland Building ID appears on most compliance notifications you receive from the City. You may also reference the City’s Building ID Lookup Tool and enter the building’s address.
What if I have a different address for my building than what is listed in the compliance notifications I receive from the City?
The City uses the property address as recorded with the Multnomah County tax assessor. The address may be different than addresses used by the building owner or manager for other purposes. We cannot change the building address of record in our system, but we can make note of alternative addresses associated with the building at the building owner’s request.
How can I fix an error(s) in my building profile that is preventing the Energy Use Intensity (EUI) metric from being calculated?
If Portfolio Manager is not generating an EUI for your building, it is likely due to an issue with how the energy usage data (Energy tab) or Gross Floor Area (Details tab) is entered in your account.
- Log in to your Portfolio Manager account and navigate to the building’s profile.
- In the upper-right corner of the building profile there is a box labeled Weather Normalized Source EUI. If an EUI cannot be calculated for your building, you will see N/A displayed in the box. Clicking on the N/A hyperlink will generate a pop-up window that identifies the problem that is preventing an EUI from being calculated. It will also provide a solution for addressing the problem.
- There may be more than one reason an EUI is not being calculated for your building. Address all issues identified in the pop-up window until Portfolio Manager can calculate an EUI for your building. Note that, if eligible, the EUI in the upper-right corner may also appear as an ENERGY STAR score once any errors are corrected.
Common reasons why an EUI is not generated, and their solutions
Building has no energy meters
Set up meters and add utility data. See the Submit your building energy usage data page for instructions.
Energy meters are set up, but are not selected to calculate performance metrics
On the Energy tab, click on Change Meter Selections and adjust selections to include all meters that represent energy usage in the building.
An energy meter selected to calculate metrics does not include at least 12 full months of energy use data for the calendar year
Review energy meters on the Energy tab and add any missing utility data.
An energy meter selected to calculate metrics has gaps or overlaps in meter data or one bill covers more than 65 days.
Review energy meters on the Energy tab and adjust billing dates and/or add any missing utility data.
The total square footage of the property use types entered for the building does not match the building’s overall Gross Floor Area.
Review property use types on the Details tab and make adjustments using the I want to…Correct Mistakesfeature and/or adjust the overall building square footage by clicking on the Edit button in the Basic Information box.
How do I remove default, temporary or estimated values from my building’s profile?
- Log in to your Portfolio Manager account and navigate to the building’s profile.
- Go to the Details tab.
- Under the Property Uses and Property Details section, expand each of the listed property use types and search the entries for default and/or temporary value selections. Default values are indicated in the Values column in parentheses. Temporary values are listed as a check box in the Temporary Value? column.
- For each value listed as default and/or temporary, you must enter an actual value representative of conditions within the building during the calendar year for which reporting is due. It is your responsibility to obtain this information as part of the reporting process.
- Once you have an accurate value to enter, select Correct Mistakes from the adjacent drop-down Action menu.
- Enter the actual value and uncheck the temporary and/or default value checkboxes.
- Click Save Corrections at the bottom of the page.
- Repeat for each property use type where default and/or temporary values are present.
How do I resubmit the report for my building once I’ve corrected errors?
Follow Step 5 on the Submit your building energy usage data page.
Why am I getting an error for the ‘date meter became active’?
The Date Meter Became Active is the date that data started being populated for the meter that you set up within Portfolio Manager. In most cases, it should be the first date of the first bill you enter for the meter. If you have a date entered that is prior to that date (e.g. the date the physical meter became active), you will get this alert, but it will not show up as an error in your report submission to the City of Portland.
What if I received a warning or violation notice from the City, but I thought my report had been submitted already?
After you have entered or updated your building’s information and energy usage data in Portfolio Manager, each year you must take the final step of submitting the report to the City. The building has not fulfilled the reporting requirements until the report has been sent.
If you are unsure whether your report has been sent from your Portfolio Manager account, you can check by completing the following steps:
- Log in to your Portfolio Manager account.
- Go to the Reporting tab.
- Under the heading Templates & Reports, you should see a report template titled Data Request: City of Portland Energy Reporting for 2017 Performance Data (Request from Portland Benchmarking).If you do not see this, it means that the report template was never loaded into the account and the report submission step was not completed (please skip to Step 5 in the instructions below). If you do see this, the next step would be to verify that the report was sent.
- Click on the triangle next to the report title to expand it. If the report was sent to the City of Portland, a line item will show up that says Response sent for [user name] with [organization name]along with a timestamp for when the report was sent. If you do not see this, please follow Step 5 from the instructions below.
You can send the report to the City of Portland using the following steps, which are included in Step 5 on the Submit your building energy usage data page.
Will you let me know if there’s an error in my reporting data?
Yes. If your report is submitted to the City of Portland and contains any common or standard reporting errors, we will contact you following the reporting deadline and you will be required to correct and resubmit the report. We will provide instructions for correcting the error and you may contact the City’s Energy Reporting Help Desk for assistance.
There are other types of errors that are not caught by Portfolio Manager’s data quality checker. Building owners are responsible for accurately characterizing the building size, use type and property use characteristics of the building. Building owners are also responsible for identifying and entering data for all energy meters serving the building, including natural gas service.
Improving Energy Performance
How can I improve my building’s energy performance?
Energy efficiency investments can improve your building’s performance for the next reporting period and also save on energy-related operating expenses on an ongoing basis. You can start with simple no- and low-cost solutions, such as:
- Changing or cleaning HVAC filters regularly.
- Turning off lights when not in use or when natural daylight is sufficient.
- Putting computers, monitors and other equipment in sleep mode when not in use.
- Upgrading to high-efficiency bulbs and fixtures.
- Using a smart power strip to turn off equipment that doesn’t always need to be on.
- Installing programmable thermostats to automatically control heating and cooling during closed hours.
For more tips, tools and resources on energy efficiency, visit our partners in energy efficiency:
Energy Trust of Oregon offers cash incentives to businesses that make energy-saving upgrades. Visit Energy Trust’s website to find a trade ally contractor and for details on cash incentives that can help you get more from your energy.
BetterBricks offers case studies, tools and resources to help manage and operate your building in an efficient and cost-effective way. Learn more about your building’s energy use and develop an action plan to save more.
PGE offers classroom, on-demand and webinar training opportunities to learn how to save on energy costs, be more sustainable and work safely around electricity.
How does the building owner benefit from being required to benchmark a building?
Tracking and reporting a building’s energy performance is widely considered a best practice in building management. It is a first step in understanding whether the building is performing as designed and can help identify whether there are opportunities to make improvements, investments or operational changes that can save energy, money and improve the building occupant experience.
The policy also increases market transparency within the commercial building sector in Portland, providing useful information to prospective purchasers or lessees.
Verification and Certification
Is certification or verification required?
No. Certification and verification of the energy performance information reported to the City are entirely voluntary.
Why should I get my building’s energy performance information verified or certified?
Ensuring that the information entered into Portfolio Manager has been done accurately provides a solid foundation for using the data to make informed decisions about energy efficiency improvements.
Verification and certification can lend credibility to the self-reported energy performance data published annually by the City. It demonstrates to the consumer of energy performance information that it has been reviewed for accuracy by a licensed professional.
The City also offers recognition opportunities for buildings eligible for an ENERGY STAR score that have been certified or verified.
How do I get my building’s energy performance information certified or verified?
Buildings receive ENERGY STAR® certification by applying through the ENERGY STAR program. The building must have an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher. Certification is given on an annual basis and verified by a third-party licensed professional engineer or registered architect.
Verification can be completed for any building eligible for an ENERGY STAR score. The verification is performed by a registered architect or professional engineer, using the same methodology as the ENERGY STAR certification, but it is available for any ENERGY STAR score and does not require an application process through ENERGY STAR. Verification is communicated to the City through the annual report submission by entering the following information in the Property Notes section under the Details tab of the building’s profile in Portfolio Manager:
- Type “VERIFIED [REPORTING YEAR]”
- The name of the person who verified your building’s data
- The verifier’s organization
- The verifier’s email address
- The verifier’s license type - Professional Engineer (PE) or Registered Architect (RA)
- Unique identification number for the verifier’s license