What is Benchmarking?
Energy performance benchmarking is simply a process for comparing one building’s energy performance against other similar buildings across the United States. The benchmarking process compensates for several different types of variables such as building size, space use, occupancy and even local weather. Once these variables have been accounted for (normalized) a comparison can be made to similar buildings from across the country and a ranking of energy performance can be determined.
There’s an old management adage that says “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” That’s true when it comes to finances, personnel, and competition and it’s true in energy performance management. With energy continuing to grow as a percentage of building operating costs, commercial building owners and operators can no longer approach energy efficiency as optional, it’s a business imperative.
Knowing your building’s true energy performance is the first step towards managing energy efficiency and the best reason for benchmarking. With an energy benchmark, you can compare your building’s performance against other buildings in your portfolio, similar buildings across the country, or against its own historical performance. Annual benchmarking can help you track energy, water and waste usage, identify areas that need improvement, and measure the impact of investments in facility upgrades.
What About Compliance?
One more reason to benchmark is that, in many cases, it is required. Many state and local governments across the country are starting to require annual benchmarks for commercial and multi-residential building, along with public release of the data. There are many good reasons for these regulations – they help improve the competitiveness and value of the local building stock, and can help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions – but building owners and operators need to be sure that they comply with their local regulations. For more information on how to comply with state and local energy performance and disclosure ordinances, please contact Boone Energy or refer to the following:
Efficiency is Valuable
In addition to the obvious value of reducing energy costs, studies show that green buildings command a market premium and provide numerous other benefits including:
- 5% increase in building value
- Lower vacancy and higher rental rates
- Increased worker productivity
Green buildings are generally defined as having an ENERGY STAR label or LEED certification, and benchmarking is the first step towards these goals.
Why use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager?
ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager is an energy management tool created to help building owners and property managers track and manage energy, water and waste consumption for a single building or an entire portfolio of buildings. Portfolio Manager can help identify under-performing buildings, allow informed decision-making about where to invest to improve efficiency and verify the impact of those investments. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is the defacto standard for energy benchmarking of commercial buildings and is required by most state and local energy benchmarking ordinances.