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Efficient Buildings Collaborative

The Efficient Buildings Collaborative brings together the county, cities and buildings owners to do energy benchmarking.

Energy benchmarking is the process of monitoring and reporting the energy use of a building. It allows comparison of buildings’ energy use to similar buildings or buildings’ past performance.

Cities can get help from Hennepin County adopting an energy benchmarking ordinance. They can also get help developing and implementing the program.

Building owners can get help from the county on how to benchmark their building.

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Benefits of joining the Efficient Buildings Collaborative

Program expertise

You get the cost effective services of a consultant specializing in energy benchmarking.

Cost-effective services

Services you receive reduce your need for additional staff.

You pay less for consulting services than if you hired services individually.

Consistent benchmarking process

Makes it simpler for owners to benchmark their buildings.

Ordinance development and adoption

Cities can get help developing a framework for passing an ordinance.

This includes strategic planning meetings and tools, such as:

  • Guide to passing an ordinance
  • Help understanding the city building fleet
  • Ordinance template

Ordinance implementation

Once the city passes an ordinance, it can receive technical services through a contract with the county.

Options to help you successfully implement the program can include:

  • Building identification and set-up
  • Program training and outreach
  • Technical assistance for building owners and data compliance
  • Reporting and scorecards including interactive GIS map of building energy data
  • Connect building owners to energy efficiency programs

Participating cities

Cities outside of Hennepin County may participate in the Efficient Buildings Collaborative.


For more detail on cost and scope of the services, contact Leah Hiniker at 612-543-1219 or

Participating building owners can enter energy use data into a free online program. The program is called Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Owners will enter data before reporting to the city.

Building owners have access to step-by-step guidance to help make this process easier. Guidance documents and instructional videos are included.

Building owners can:

  • Get their unique building ID for this program
  • Enter their building data into the online Energy Star Portfolio Manager
  • Report their data to the city by June 1 each year

The Efficient Buildings Collaborative provides free technical support to help building owners set up and automate energy tracking required for reporting. Compliance with benchmarking ordinances does not require the purchase of any software or services.

COVID-19 updates

The Efficient Buildings Collaborative acknowledges that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on building operations and understands that this will likely be reflected in annual benchmarking submissions. Building owners should continue to report their benchmarking data as usual. For further guidance reach out to the Efficient Buildings Collaborative help desk.

Virtual trainings

There are a number of virtual training sessions offered based on where your building is located. Each training session will cover the basics of the city’s ordinance, how to benchmark using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and how to submit a benchmarking report to the city.

2022 training sessions

Bloomington, Edina, and St. Louis Park

Compliance checklist for Efficient Buildings Collaborative

Building owners can use this checklist to comply with the Efficient Buildings Collaborative using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

Step 1: Create an account in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and add your building(s)

Affected building owners must complete this prior to entering annual energy data:

1) Create a Portfolio Manager account.

2) Add building(s) to your account. In “My Portfolio,” click “Add a Property” and follow the instructions on how to add a building. You can also watch a video for instructions on creating an account and adding your buildings (YouTube).

3) If your building has a parking area or parking garage, find more information on how to set those up on the EnergyStar Portfolio website.

Step 2: Find and attach your MN Efficient Buildings Collaborative ID

Each building that must report energy and/or water performance has a unique ID called the MN Efficient Buildings Collaborative ID. Adding this ID to your building ensures the data you report connects to the correct building during compliance checks.

Affected building owners must find and attach their ID prior to entering annual energy data.

To see if your building is required to comply with the Efficient Building Collaborative view the covered buildings list. You can sort the data by city and search for your building by address. There you’ll find your building’s EBC ID and assessor reported square footage. View the covered buildings list.

Add the ID to your building’s profile in Portfolio Manager under ‘Details’ > ‘Unique Identifiers’ > ‘Standard IDs’ > ‘MN Efficient Buildings Collaborative ID (EBC)’.

Watch an video for instructions on adding the ID to your building's profile (YouTube).

Step 3: Enter your whole-building energy data (not including water)

Building owners must annually report whole-building energy data by June 1. The report must cover the previous calendar year (January 1 – December 31). This includes whole-building energy consumption of electricity, natural gas, solar, district steam, district chilled water, etc.

For the fuels that Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy provide, you may set-up automatic upload of aggregated whole-building energy data directly into Portfolio Manager, using their tools.

Instructions on how to set-up automatic upload:

Manual entry is required for all other energy sources but may be used for Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy. Watch a video for instructions on this process (YouTube).

Step 4: Enter your whole-building water data

Depending on your city’s requirements, you may also need to report whole-building water data by June 1 for the previous calendar year (January 1 – December 31).

Step 5: Run the data quality checker

Complete this step only after all energy (and possibly water) data for the entire calendar year is in Portfolio Manager.

Step 6: Submit your data to the city

Submit your data by June 1:

Exemption requests

Buildings may be exempt from submitting their benchmarking data.

Exemption criteria may vary by city but can include:

  • The building is experiencing financial distress/hardship*
  • The building is under 50% occupied
  • The property does not have a certificate of occupancy or temporary certificate of occupancy for all twelve (12) months of the calendar year for which benchmarking is required

*There is specific criteria that needs to be met in order for this exemption to apply. Please see the exemption form or ordinance language for more detail

Depending on the exemption request supporting documentation and written explanation may be required.

Exemptions are only valid for one reporting year and must be resubmitted each year.

Watch a video on filing an exemption (YouTube).

File an exemption request.

Additional user guides

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Resources:

Recorded virtual training sessions:

EBC workshop November 3, 2021: How to use benchmarking for energy management (1 hour).


Efficient Buildings Collaborative Help Desk

  • Phone: 866-614-7542
  • Email:
  • Available Monday–Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST

Benefits of an energy efficiency ordinance

Buildings use 40% of all energy consumed in the United States. That’s a huge opportunity for energy savings. Cities have started requiring large buildings to record their energy use each year. Buildings must also report the data publicly.

Save energy and money

An energy efficiency policy helps building owners find ways to save energy. This saves money in utility costs. It also creates demand for energy efficiency in the property market.

Inform local policy

Energy data reported to local government can inform policy and programs. Cities can then target known efficiency issues.

Create local jobs

As building owners look for ways to save energy they may hire professionals to help. These can include engineers, contractors, energy auditors and construction workers.

Recognize efficiency

Energy efficient buildings are gaining importance in the property market. Energy reporting draws positive attention to energy efficient buildings.

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