Mandated Energy Benchmarking On the Rise
Energy benchmarking is one useful tool to help you accomplish these goals. Benchmarking compares your building’s energy to other buildings, determines if your building is using an excessive amount of energy and helps set goals for energy management.
Earlier this summer, Philadelphia passed a law to begin mandating energy benchmarking for commercial buildings exceeding 50,000 square feet, as Greentech Media reports. According to the article benchmarking can equate to a 5% energy savings without any other changes, spurring government organizations to enact the requirement.
Other organizations are using benchmarking as well. For instance, the U.S. Green Building Council now requires an Energy Star score to achieve a LEED rating. Benchmarking laws are already in place in other cities including Austin, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
Benchmarking benefits everyone, according to the City of Seattle. It lowers energy costs, reduces greenhouse gases and allows property owners to make more informed decisions. The city provides a few case studies to demonstrate the success of benchmarking.
Some utilities provide benchmarking systems, but the industry standard is the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, offered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It’s a free, interactive energy management tool.
Portfolio Manager tracks and evaluates energy and water use, comparing that information to similar buildings nationwide and providing an energy performance rating. Ratings are based on a scale from 1 to 100. A 50 rating means a building performs better than 50% of similar buildings in terms of energy usage. Ratings over 75 qualify the building for an ENERGY STAR label.
But benchmarking doesn’t come without issues. Greentech Media offers an example of a building owner who claims it took weeks to schedule a site visit, compile the data and receive a score from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If a business is trying to obtain LEED status, it can take months to find out if the rating is enough to qualify.
There is still work to do to cut down on the inconsistencies in benchmarking data, but as more programs or laws require benchmarking the technologies will increase and improve.
Do you think mandated benchmarking is helpful?
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