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Local Government Spotlight: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Deploying a Benchmarking and Monthly Utility Bill Analysis Tool in Minneapolis


Minneapolis, Minnesota, utilized EnergyCAP, utility bill accounting and energy management software, to track energy usage and verify the impacts of conservation measures.

Goal: Deploy energy management and information systems (EMIS) to reduce energy consumption.

Barrier: No EMIS; existing EMIS has limited analysis capabilities.

Solution: Selected a benchmarking and monthly utility bill analysis tool to track energy usage and verify the impacts of conservation measures.

Outcome: Enabled energy reductions in support of established energy and environmental goals.


Minneapolis is a top-50 city in terms of population with just over 425,000 people.[1]  To help the city track energy usage and verify the impacts of conservation measures, Minneapolis selected EnergyCAP, a utility bill accounting and energy management software.

Implementation Strategy

EnergyCAP served as a central repository of the city's portfolio of energy-using assets and corresponding utility billing data. Minneapolis used the system to:

  • Generate energy consumption reports and identify energy efficiency improvement opportunities
  • Optimize staff time for data entry and reporting
  • Measure and verify installed energy efficiency measures.

Generate Energy Consumption Reports and Identify Energy Efficiency Improvement Opportunities

Minneapolis used EnergyCAP to generate monthly facility-level reports by city department that compared current energy consumption to that of the same month in the previous year. The reports, which take only 5 minutes to generate for approximately 200 accounts, showed usage anomalies and increases in consumption, allowing facility managers to pinpoint the issues and address them. (Local Government Spotlight: Minneapolis, MN Communicating Energy Performance with City Departments).

Optimize Staff Time for Data Entry and Reporting

The tool's customizable bill entry templates enabled manual data entry for gas, steam, and chilled water. The templates parallel the layout of the actual bills, which simplified data entry and reduced errors. EnergyCAP's seamless integration with ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, which is the city's primary tool for tracking compliance with its benchmarking and transparency ordinance, eliminated the need to re-enter consumption information, saving staff time.

Measure and Verify Installed Energy Efficiency Measures

The cost avoidance calculator is one function of the tool that has proven to be particularly useful. By controlling for several variables that affect energy use, including weather and occupancy, it measures the impact of energy efficiency projects on energy consumption and cost.

For example, in 2010 the city upgraded lighting and added carbon dioxide monitors to the air handling equipment to increase the efficiency of steam boilers in a city office building. The retrofits cost the city $78,000; using the cost avoidance module, the city's energy manager demonstrated that the city avoided $98,000 in steam and electricity costs the following year—net savings of $20,000.


By leveraging EMIS, the city was able to more effectively manage its energy use data, which enabled the city to identify energy efficiency opportunities, optimize staff time, and measure and verify installed energy efficiency measures. The EMIS helped the city to reduce energy consumption in support of its established energy and environmental goals.

Note: The information in this case study is based on primary research conducted in 2013. Learn more about the guide's research and development.

To learn more about leveraging data management tools, see Step 5.