Energy BenchmarkingThere are plenty of steps businesses can take to cut commercial energy bills, from efficient lighting to newer insulation. But there’s always just one key step at the start, whether you’re looking to start a program or just want to investigate – setting a benchmark.

Businesses can use benchmarking programs as a means of putting their own energy usage into perspective against other buildings of comparable size and type, or against the same building in prior months and years. This helps give some sense of how effective an energy efficiency program could be or has been, as well as how badly the efforts are needed. Sometimes it’s not always obvious that a business’ energy consumption is a problem, but that will be very clear if comparable buildings are using a fraction of the energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy breaks down the process of creating a benchmark program into several steps, starting first and foremost with deciding what the program is intended to accomplish. While many benchmarks will appear to provide similar information, there are key differences in which measures are most useful or which are required depending on whether you are hoping to take part in certain programs or if you’re simply hoping to achieve certain types of savings.

Once you know what you’re trying to do with your benchmark, make sure your leadership understands the goal and supports your efforts, then put together a team of people to take responsibility for the project. There needs to be a clear definition of roles and responsibilities in creating these types of systems, but whoever is responsible also needs to know unequivocally that leadership is dedicated to the process.

Having already figured out what you’re looking to learn, you should be able to identify the most useful output statistics for these types of benchmarks, which in turn should make clear exactly what kind of data the company needs to collect.

Though that process is fairly regimented, businesses must then decide what kinds of tools they want to use to collect and organize the necessary information and then to assure the reliability of the data. Many tools are available for each of these, some of them for free, though many of these are more limited. The tools you select will help to determine how you will monitor the information you collect, with some offering a variety of presentation tools and others requiring you to put the data into a separate program for that purpose.

From here, there must be a regular process for reviewing the energy usage information you collect, as well as your benchmarking process itself, with any eye toward making further adjustments as opportunities are made available.

It’s also worth noting that many jurisdictions require businesses to provide regular benchmark reports as well. Cities like New York and Washington, D.C., have implemented strict regulations designed to encourage energy efficiency, and you will need to work out a benchmarking process whether you intend to use the information or not.

New York…Are You Ready?

As part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan Legislation – Local Law 84(LL84) requires buildings over 50,000 square feet to submit an annual energy benchmark by May 1st

Energy Bechmarking Services