SIDEBAR (Exclusive online only): Benchmarking Tips and Resources
Part 4 of the 5-part Green Building Report.
For facility managers keen on making the most of the benchmarking process, the following resources can help bring the most value for the effort:
• Learning to read energy consumption trend data to gain insights into your building, equipment, and opportunities for tuning the operations and management. The trend data may be hinting at how to improve thermal comfort conditions, easily save money and staff time, or mitigate risks.
• Understanding your own baseline of performance, so you can gauge the efficacy of any efficiency measures you pursue.
• Realizing the power but limitations of cross building comparisons. Comparing energy use intensity (EUI) or Energy Star scores can be meaningful, but presumes a high degree of precision and accuracy in reporting all the inputs.
• Paying routine attention. Checking in on energy efficiency once per year is not frequent enough to optimize your building’s market positioning or performance.
Resources for benchmarking correctly abound, but here are a few to check out:
Energy Star Portfolio Manager Website — Though a bit unwieldy, the Energy Star website includes a large amount of information on the rules of ENERGY STAR, details of the technical methodologies behind their algorithms, frequently asked questions, and resources for approaching efficiency improvements.
Energy Star Licensed Professional Guide — Speaking of being a bit unwieldy, the actual title of this document is “The Licensed Professional’s Guide: Understanding the Roles and Requirements for Verifying Commercial Building applications for Energy StarCertification”. It is periodically updated, and consolidates the official reference information.
Energy Star Portfolio Manager, The Unofficial Reference Guide from LEEDuser and YR&G — This free resource attempts to draw together and organize many of the official rules of Energy Star benchmarking, while also incorporating user experience of common errors and how to avoid them.
— Jenny Carney