Tag Archives: energy benchmarking

Free Building Energy Tools Gain Ground

Energy benchmarking is becoming a must for large cities, with Boston being the latest one. Benchmarking mandates the measurement and disclosure of energy use for large buildings, and is meant to help building owners understand their energy use better, and to take action in poorly performing buildings.

In an effort to inspire action, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab is developing tools to help inspire action. The most recent being EnergyIQ, which allows commercial users to benchmark their buildings and identify efficiency opportunities.

Using EnergyIQ, owners or managers “pick their parameters of a peer group across 62 different building types, including geography, size, vintage and operating hours.”

Other free or low-cost tools are also being developed for energy benchmarking including Noseis, Energy Deck, and Honest Buildings. Currently, Portfolio Manager is the primary benchmarking tool to meet the requirements set forth by local governments.

Source: Green Tech Media


By Gaylen Davenport

Boston Approves Building Energy Benchmarking

Add Boston to the list of cities that have approved energy benchmarking. The city ordinance will require larger commercial and residential buildings to report annual energy and water usage to the city, making the information available for the public.

Seven other cities have enacted energy benchmarking including New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. California and Washington are the only two states that have reporting requirements aimed at reducing carbon emissions by cutting energy consumption.

The Boston ordinance requires only the reporting of data and energy audits for less-efficient buildings. It is hoped that “creating transparency around energy use will result in market forces driving a reduction of greenhouse gases as owners take steps to improve efficiencies and remain competitive among tenants focused on operating costs and sustainable workplaces.”

Transparency in commercial buildings is sure to stick around, and will undoubtly lead to improvements in energy performance and increased building values.

Source: Greenbiz.com


By Gaylen Davenport

Is Energy Benchmarking Needed?

A new report questions the value of energy benchmarking laws, especially in terms of what they are meant to achieve.

Robert Stavins, an environmental economist at Harvard University, examined “whether mandatory benchmarking and auditing rules can achieve what they’re meant to do.”

Energy benchmarking has worked its way to the Midwest as a way to garner more data on buildings and disclose energy information from commercial buildings.

The study was funded by opponents of the recent ruling in Minneapolis, and found that while benchmarking rules “do not necessarily come with a pile of money to help inefficient buildings, the data coming from the disclosure could help utilities or other market players design more effective energy-efficiency programs to target the lowest-performing buildings.”

While Stavins does not discredit benchmarking rules, he does question how much they can accomplish. Energy benchmarking is still in its early stages in the U.S. But from what we can see, from larger cities like New York, and Washington, D.C., “benchmarking has already allowed them to identify problematic sections of the municipal building sections of the municipal building stock and take actions – whether that’s a full-fledged energy audit or simply changing the rules for how building managers monitor equipment.”

And while benchmarking rules are not perfect, they do have an effect on market and behavior shifts that will put energy efficiency front and center.

Source: Green Tech Media


By Gaylen Davenport

Why the New York Times Building is Saving Energy

New York Times building benchmarking

Researchers found that the New York Times building is seeing some impressive gains in efficiency since new benchmarking laws have been in place.

Last year, New York City required its commercial buildings to disclose their energy consumption. The benchmarking plan saw many surprises including finding newer LEED buildings ranked behind much older buildings when it came to energy efficiency.

Take for instance the New York Times building, which is seeing more impressive gains in efficiency. Constructed in 2007, the building includes a dimmable lighting system, an automated roller shade system for windows, and an underfloor air distribution system. Plus it gets about 40 percent of its energy from natural gas.

After comparing the NY Times building with a standard building efficiency code, researchers found that the NY Times Building “reduced annual electricity by 24 percent, cut heating energy use by more than 50 percent, and reduced peak electric demand by 25 percent.”

The findings showed that standard efficiency measures can have a substantial impact on the energy performance of a building. “As New York City’s recent energy benchmarking report showed, even much older buildings with proper retrofits can outperform new buildings with a prominent environmental rating.

Read more about the study at Green Tech Media.


By Gaylen Davenport

Tips for an Energy Benchmarking Plan

The U.S. Department of Energy Technical Assistance Program (TAP) recently released an 11-step outline for public sector organizations to use in developing an energy benchmarking plan.

Benchmarking is comparing a metered building’s current energy performance with its energy baseline. It can help building managers compare performance over time or between similar types of buildings or to document savings from conservation measures. Energy benchmarking is quickly becoming the green standard for businesses and cities.

Having a benchmarking plan can help organizations implement their efforts and to meet requirements of a policy or program.

The eleven tips are:

  • Establish a goal for benchmarking
  • Secure buy-in from leadership
  • Build a benchmarking team
  • Identify output metrics needed to support the benchmarking goal
  • Identify the data input requirements
  • Select a benchmarking tool
  • Determine a collection method
  • Consider the data verification process
  • Evaluate analysis techniques
  • Communicate the plan and formalize the process
  • Planning for change

Source: Energy Manager Today


By Gaylen Davenport

Energy Benchmarking Comes to the Midwest

Energy benchmarking commercial buildings

Energy benchmarking presents an opportunity for property managers to identify areas for increased efficiency and reducing operating costs.

Energy benchmarking is making its way to the Midwest in 2014 when Minneapolis will be the first Midwest city to require large commercial buildings to report their energy and water use annually.

Energy benchmarking presents an opportunity for building owners and property managers to identify areas for improvement to increase energy efficiency and reduce operating costs.

Though there are different ways to benchmark, most laws will allow cities to gather better data on a sector that usually consumes the bulk of overall energy. This type of transparency is the first step in monetizing efficiency and increasing the value of retrofits.

Energy benchmarking laws are fairly standard in much of Western Europe, but have just gained steam in the U.S. in recent years. Cities that have recently passed energy benchmarking laws include New York, Seattle, San Francisco,  Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Austin and California.

Source: GreenTech Media

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