Mar 5, 2018 | Trends, Sustainability

What is Energy Benchmarking?

In an effort to track the energy use of large commercial properties, most major U.S. cities have mandated benchmarking. Benchmarking requires property owners to annually measure their energy and water consumption and report usage to their cities through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) online tool. Portfolio Manager serves as a mechanism to measure energy performance of a single building over time, relative to other similar buildings.

What is Energy Benchmarking?

Benchmarking is a foundational tool through which state and local governments are able to obtain a clear picture of how buildings are using energy and where there are opportunities for improvement. Benchmarking facilitates energy accounting for property owners, managers, and facility operators by comparing a facility’s energy use to similar facilities, and by tracking progress from year to year to assist in energy efficiency planning. This allows property owners to assess opportunities for improvement, and quantify/verify energy savings.

Why is Energy Benchmarking Important?

Cities use benchmarking data in developing energy efficiency policy and developing resources to help building owners use less energy and save money. Businesses use benchmarking as the foundation of their organizations’ energy management strategy. Collecting and analyzing energy data is crucial because you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Benchmarking has become standard operating procedure across many commercial building markets as volatile energy costs and environmental and sustainability issues have raised awareness of the importance of energy management.
Of course, the key to successful benchmarking is consistency. Regularly measuring, comparing to competitors and identifying opportunities for improvement are the keys to effective benchmarking. In a recent study, EPA found that buildings that were consistently benchmarked reduced energy use by an average of 2.4 percent per year, while buildings that started out as poor performers saved even more.

Who needs to Comply with Energy Benchmarking?

The specific requirements for buildings that need to benchmark vary from city to city. For example, New York City requires benchmarking for buildings that exceed 50,000 gross square feet, two or more buildings on the same tax lot, or owned condominiums exceeding 100,000 gross square feet. The deadline for New York City submissions this year is May 1st.

To understand what is required in your city, contact your local government office today, as most benchmarking submissions are due in early spring and failure to timely submit will result in substantial fines. Albireo can assist you in managing your energy and meeting your benchmarking requirements. Contact us at [email protected] or call us today at 800-201-3153. Let Albireo power your business.


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