By some estimates, buildings could be responsible for nearly half of all CO2 emissions in the United States, Even worse, the EPA has stated that around 30% of electricity consumption by commercial buildings is wasted or inefficient.
Many cities have responded to inefficient energy management by instituting energy benchmarking laws. Energy benchmarking collects utility data from commercial and small buildings into the EPA’s Portfolio Manager. Using this data cities, building managers, and tenants can identify opportunities where savings can be practiced to save money and reduce energy wastes.
Energy benchmarking is a great strategy to meet compliance with local emissions regulations. Energy benchmarking is used measure multiple performance indicators including:
● Total energy use
● Peak energy demand
● Energy use intensity
● Comparative energy use among similar commercial structures
Commercial building owners can then compare these performance indicators among national averages to evaluate their energy efficiency. While energy benchmarking may feel like expensive regulation to implement, there’s actually tremendous benefits for your commercial building and city.
● Identify areas where energy is wasted.
● Reduce total building emissions
● Matchup energy output against local regulations, such as RPS laws
● Save money for ratepayers and tenants
● Improves government data initiatives to implement better policies that meet consumer demands
● Increase real estate value
Efficient Energy Benchmarking Strategies
Automate Data Inputs
Commercial building managers are required to input energy data into the EPA’s Portfolio Manager. The sheer amount of data required can become cumbersome to input manually and nearly impossible to keep up with. An automated utility manager can save you money and time by automatically inputting data directly into the Portfolio Manager and providing you with a dashboard to actively manage and observe multiple data inputs.
Encourage Tenant Compliance
While automated programs can truly streamline the data input process, many of these touch points still require tenant participation to get accurate information. Work with tenants to develop how-to-guides, rebate incentives, and educational programs that encourage tenants to participate in energy benchmarking. If you’re using a ratepayer system, than offering lower utility bills will incentivize tenants to fix areas of energy waste and participate in the program.
Submitting a single energy consumption form to energy managers will comply with local confidentiality laws and satisfy tenants who don’t want their energy data being shared with third parties. This also makes it easier to manage data and meet requirements from local ordinances.
Seek Help from Others
Work with building engineers and local utility companies to discover better ways you could be managing your energy benchmarking data. They will help you identify areas of waste where energy savings programs can be implemented. Your local utility company will also shows you how to submit energy data to comply with local ordinances.
A long Term Investment
Purchasing a utility module and complying with an energy portfolio manager are relatively inexpensive investments. The costs-savings of reducing energy waste and making energy consumption more efficient could save you thousands of dollars in the long-run. While these programs are easier for larger commercial buildings than smaller ones, there are plenty of ways to effectively manage energy data and resources to help you meet local compliance.