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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is EnergyScoreCards Minnesota?
EnergyScoreCards Minnesota is a two-year effort to implement energy benchmarking and tracking at multifamily buildings in Minnesota. The project aims to demonstrate that engaging multifamily owners, property managers and tenants in managing energy use can measurably reduce utility spending, energy and water consumption and carbon emissions. EnergyScoreCards Minnesota is a partnership between Minnesota Housing, Minnesota Green Communities, University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR), the 
Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), and EnergyScoreCards.

What is energy benchmarking?
Energy and water utility benchmarking is the comparison of a building’s performance with similar buildings. It is done by tracking energy and water use over time through utility usage information, and allows owners to understand how their buildings use energy in order to make strategic investments in energy and water efficiency. More about benchmarking.

How will participating help me save on utilities?
Participants will have access to EnergyScoreCards, an online energy benchmarking and management tool. This tool helps properties identify energy and water waste, understand opportunities for financial return, target actions to save energy and water, and track the impact of conservation actions. See www.energyscorecards.com for more information on the tool.

How long will the program last?
The initial EnergyScoreCards Minnesota pilot is scheduled to last two years.

How is EnergyScoreCards Minnesota funded?
EnergyScoreCards Minnesota is jointly funded by Xcel Energy, Minnesota Housing, and Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. 

Eligibility

Who can sign up?
  • market-rate and affordable rental properties with ten units or more in the service area of Xcel Energy, CenterPoint Energy, Rochester, Austin, Owatonna, St. Cloud and Mankato utilities. 
    • If you use one of the above utilities as well as another utility not on the list, please sign up and we will review your property for eligibility.
  • properties receiving Section 8, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Rural Development
  • public housing properties
  • new buildings with at least 12 months of utility history. Buildings completed and occupied by the beginning of 2011 can sign up.
Can condos and co-ops participate?
EnergyScoreCards Minnesota is currently limited to rental properties.  However, we will allow student cooperatives if the share purchase is $2,500 or less per student.

Are townhome properties eligible?
Sorry, townhomes are not eligible to participate at this time.

Can I submit multiple properties?
Yes, but all submitted properties may not be selected for participation. Owners/managers will be limited to a maximum of twelve participating properties each. For owners with more than 12 eligible properties, we encourage you to submit up to 17 properties to increase the chance that 12 will be selected for the pilot. There is a possibility that eligibility will be expanded to 15 properties per owner/manager. 

My tenants pay their own utility bills. Am I still eligible?
As long as a property owner pays some energy or water bills at the property, the property is eligible. However, the program does have a preference for properties with owner-paid heating.

Can I submit a property for the pilot that is already in EnergyScoreCards? 
Can I submit properties if I use EnergyScoreCards for other properties in my portfolio?

Yes, as long as the submitted properties meet other eligibility requirements for the pilot. However, selection for the pilot is not guaranteed; your properties will be thrown into the pool for consideration like any other.  If not selected, you can continue to use the EnergyScoreCards service as a paid subscription.

Can senior properties participate?
Senior housing, including assisted living or housing with services are eligible.  Nursing homes/skilled nursing facilities are not eligible for participation.    As a rule of thumb, if the apartments have kitchens the property is likely to be eligible. 

Are mixed-use buildings eligible?
Yes, provided that a majority of the property is used as multi-family residential space. This applies to properties that may have residential space combined with retail, offices, skilled nursing or other non-residential uses.

Are SROs eligible?
Single Room Occupancy (SRO) buildings are not eligible at this time.

Sign-Up & Property Survey Application

How do I sign up?
To sign up, please complete the sign-up form or send an email to Minnesota@energyscorecards.com with your organization name, contact person and number of properties in your portfolio.

What happens after I sign up?
Properties that sign up are required to:
  • complete a property survey and 
  • authorize EnergyScoreCards Minnesota to collect owner-paid utility data for the duration of the pilot.
The survey will ask for basic information about your property (square footage, number of units, number of bedrooms, utilities used on site, utilities paid for by owner or tenants). This information is used to benchmark energy and water performance .

How do I get the property survey form?
The property survey will be posted on www.energyscorecardsmn.com shortly and will be emailed to people who complete the sign-up form.

If I complete the sign-up form are my properties guaranteed participation?
No. Participants will be selected from the pool of properties that sign up. There will be two pools of participants. One pool will receive immediate access to EnergyScoreCards; the other pool will receive access at a later part of the program.

How do I submit a property with several buildings?
If your property consists of a collection of several buildings, how you submit them will depend on how the buildings are metered.
  • Any buildings that share a utility account (e.g. electricity for common areas or central systems) can be submitted as one property to the pilot - provided that each residential building has 10 or more units.
  • Buildings with that have completely separate accounts for all utilities must be submitted as separate properties. 

When will I find out if my properties are selected to participate?
We expect to announce the participant lists in early spring 2012.

What does it cost to participate in the program?
Participation is free!

Utility Information

Why do I have to provide authorization to collect utility bills?
Before selecting participants, we need to confirm we can access your utility data for the duration of the pilot.

Do I have to send in past utility bills to participate?
No, you are not required to gather or enter utility bills in order to participate. However, you are required to provide authorization for EnergyScoreCards Minnesota to collect utility history and current utility data for the duration of the pilot.

Will you be collecting water bills?
Yes. Participants are strongly encouraged to include water accounts in the pilot.

Will you be collecting tenant utility bills?
For a subset of participating properties, we will collect and track tenant utility information. This subset will include property owners who opt to include tenant usage and can provide the necessary authorizations.

About EnergyScoreCards

What is EnergyScoreCards?
The Property ScoreCard
EnergyScoreCards™ (www.energyscorecards.com) is an online energy benchmarking and management tool for people who make decisions about energy use in buildings, including:
  • Property Managers & Building Owners
  • Energy Consultants & Contractors
  • Energy Efficiency Program Administrators
  • Utility Companies
How many properties are currently in the EnergyScoreCards database?
EnergyScoreCards has a national database of approximately 2500 multifamily properties across the U.S.

Can I continue using EnergyScoreCards after the pilot program?
Yes. EnergyScoreCards is available as a subscription service for multifamily properties.