Building energy benchmarking, simply put, refers to a systemic and continuous process of reviewing your building’s ongoing energy consumption to determine how optimally it’s functioning.
It can be internal- measuring the building’s present performance to the past or it could be external, which involves comparing two buildings or more altogether. Regardless of the type, the data studied motivates owners and occupants to strive for improvement.
It facilitates in identifying the poorly performing buildings, establishing a baseline for measuring the improvement, enhancing a competitive spirit through comparison.
Moreover, it is also in many ways an initial step towards partaking in green compliance for studying the building’s energy consumption probes the required interventions to make it energy efficient, and ultimately enjoy the credibility that comes with various certifications.
Benchmarking is not a destination; it’s more of a mile marker.
What does Energy Benchmarking Involve?
Using tools like ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, internal or external data is collected, following which the data is verified to ensure reliability and accuracy.
This essentially involves the filtering out abnormally high or low Energy Use Intensity (EUI) values in the building compared with national median EUI values, performing verifications on site, considering the randomly sampled utility meter data, establishing a protocol for filling in the gaps in the data acquired, comparing it against the baseline, utilizing the building’s energy software for further evaluation to realize potential performance amongst other things.
What are the Benefits of Energy Benchmarking?
Energy benchmarking is becoming mandatory with grappling threats of climate change that have only blown out post the pandemic. Therefore, it is wiser and safer to participate and invest in energy benchmarking and reap the following benefits:-
- Increased control over energy use by providing quantified, objective and reliable information on energy usage along with the benefits of improvement.
- Positively impacts the behavior of occupants of the building by increasing general awareness.
- Helps in identifying the best practices that can be replicated within the same building and also across a portfolio if need be.
- Helps to improve operational performance as well as acquire financial assistance for implementing efficiency projects.
- It helps manage energy costs which further increases profits thereby, increasing the savings.
- It paves the way towards more comprehensive energy management by utilizing the internal and external data.
Mandatory benchmarking is becoming more common in the Unites States as is substantiated by the New York City Local Law 87 which mandates that buildings over 50,000 square feet partake in periodic energy audits and retro-commissioning measures as part of the Greener, Greater, Buildings Plan (GGBP). Further, an Energy Efficiency Report has to be completed and submitted to the City annually, failure of doing which is deemed penal. Benchmarking helps curate a more robust understanding of the building and its performance, eventually shifting the market towards more energy efficient, high performing buildings.