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FAQs and Assistance


Help Desk

A help desk will soon be available to answer questions about the benchmarking program and Portfolio Manager, as well as process and review applications for appeals and exemptions. In the meanwhile, please send your inquiries to benchmarking@bpu.nj.gov.
 
NJ Certified Benchmarkers

NJ Certfied Benchmarkers are people who passed a test on their knowledge of Portfolio Manager and NJ's benchmarking program policy and rules. They can help you with every step of the benchmarking process: Certified Benchmarker List.
 
If you are interested in becoming a Certified NJ Benchmarker, please visit the New Jersey Clean Energy Learning Center at https://njcelc.com/benchmarking-overview/.

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Sign up for the Energy Efficiency listserv to receive updates on the Benchmarking Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to benchmark if I own a unit in a multi-parcel building?

If you own a parcel in a multi-parcel building, such as a mall or office complex, please contact your property or facility manager. While your unit may be less than 25,000 square feet, the whole building is over 25,000 square feet. They as the building operator are responsible for completing the benchmarking obligation (How to Report: Building Owners & Operators | NJ OCE Web Site (njcleanenergy.com)).

What do I do if my building is less than 25,000 square feet?

BPU modeled the building square footage from three data sources:  a GIS shape file of tax parcels, satellite images, and 3-dimensional data (LIDAR). As a result, BPU recognizes some uncertainty in the estimation. If your building is less than 25,000 square feet, could you confirm the size by providing (pdf) evidence, such as architectural drawings or a building survey.  Please submit an exemption request at https://njcleanenergy.com/commercial-industrial/programs/energy-water-benchmarking/covered-buildings.

Do I have to benchmark if my building is unoccupied?

You may apply for an exemption, if your building was 100% unoccupied for the full year. Please submit an exemption request at https://njcleanenergy.com/commercial-industrial/programs/energy-water-benchmarking/covered-buildings. You must submit a pdf of appropriate evidence of vacancy, such as a construction permit dated prior to 2022 or a notice of a safety or health violation that prevents occupancy.

Do I have to benchmark if my building is foreclosed or my business is bankrupt?

You may apply for an exemption, if your ownership is subject to financial distress, such as bankruptcy or foreclosure. Please submit an exemption request at https://njcleanenergy.com/commercial-industrial/programs/energy-water-benchmarking/covered-buildings. You must submit a pdf of appropriate evidence of financial distress, such as a bankruptcy order or foreclosure writ of execution.

I sold the property.  What do I do to be removed from the benchmarking covered buildings list?

If your building was sold any time prior to the annual benchmarking deadline (October 1, 2023), please submit an exemption request at https://njcleanenergy.com/commercial-industrial/programs/energy-water-benchmarking/covered-buildings. You must submit a pdf of appropriate evidence of the sale, such as a deed transfer.

My building is mixed-use (commercial square footage less than 25k).  Do I have to benchmark?

BPU determined covered buildings according to the building use class that is recorded in the state’s tax assessment records (MODIV). If the building use class is 4A (Commercial) or 4C (Apartment), your building is covered. Since BPU relied on the state’s tax assessment data, BPU had no way of knowing if a building is mixed-use or not. You must still benchmark.

I have many tenants who are submetered, how do get their utility data?

BPU required the regulated utilities (i.e., PSEG, South Jersey Gas, NJ Natural Gas, Elizabethtown Gas, Jersey Central Power and Light, Rockland Electric, Atlantic City Electric) to provide a data aggregation service. To get the building-level utility data, go to your utility’s benchmarking web page (which will be available by August 1st): https://njcleanenergy.com/commercial-industrial/programs/energy-water-benchmarking/utility-data.

Complete their data access request form. They will check if you need to get consent from your tenants. If there are four or fewer tenants, or one tenant uses more than 50% of the energy, then they will let you know you need to get consent from the tenants. They will have a pdf consent form to download. Ask your tenants to complete the form. Return the completed forms to the utility. The utility will then aggregate the data only from the tenants who have consented.  BPU accepts that the utility consumption may not represent the complete building.

You will have to request the data for all your utilities, for example, electricity, natural gas and water.

If the utility is not regulated by BPU, such as a municipal electric or water utility, please still contact the utility to ask for the building-level data. They may offer the service. If not, you should still submit data for any utility accounts that you are directly responsible for.

How do I benchmark a campus?

For a campus, you can report on just the covered buildings (>25,000 sq ft) or preferably on the campus as a whole, as EPA recommends. There are three acceptable scenarios for submitting th data:

1. Report the covered buildings sseparately.
2. Report the covered buildings together as a single campus (without including the non-covered buildings.
3. Report all buildings on the campus, covered and non-covered (preferred).

For each case, you can request the building-level data from your utility, which will be a service available starting August 1st. BPU recommends that you create virtual meters in Portfolio Manager for each building that you will include for the campus. Which of the three scenarios you choose is complicated by the metering for the utilities you have.  If you have a single master meter for water for the campus as a whole, then you won’t be able to allocate water consumption per building. 

How do I comply?

To comply, you must submit the information through EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool. If you are not familiar with Portfolio Manager, you will have to make the decision to i) learn it yourself (about 2-4 hours of training for which EPA has many training videos), ii) hire someone who is knowledgeable (either someone from your facilities management vendor or energy services company), or iii) hire a NJ Certified Benchmarker (https://njcleanenergy.com/commercial-industrial/programs/energy-water-benchmarking/assistance). If your utilities are straightforward, for example, you don’t have solar, well-water, storage batteries, then you may be able to do it yourself.  Otherwise, BPU recommends hiring an expert.

What is EPA Portfolio Manager?

EPA's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a no-cost, interactive energy management tool that allows you to securely track and assess energy and water consumption across your building portfolio. Whether you own, manage, or hold properties for investment, Portfolio Manager can help you set investment priorities, identify under-performing buildings, verify efficiency improvements, and apply for ENERGY STAR certification for superior energy performance (https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/tools-and-resources/portfolio-manager-0).

How do I learn how to use Portfolio Manager?

EPA has many training resources at https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/training.

District heating system

If the loop is feeding only buildings that are required to report, Rutgers would report the input fuel for the central plant, either as one value representing a group/campus of buildings, or based on building-level metering with the percentage of the system kBtu’s translated into the input fuel for tracking. For example, if a given building was using 10% of the system’s steam, and the input fuel was was 10,000 therms of natural gas, the building would input 1,000 therms.

If the loop is feeding buildings that aren’t on campus, let’s set up a meeting to discuss what to report.

Here’s an FAQ that explains more: https://energystar-mesa.force.com/PortfolioManager/s/article/How-do-I-enter-district-steam-district-hot-water-and-or-district-chilled-water-1600088551444

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