Energy Star Benchmarking
One method of assessing energy savings potential without an in-depth energy audit is by benchmarking your building’s energy use against similar properties. Benchmarking is the process of comparing the energy performance of a particular commercial building to a range of energy-performance values of similar buildings.
Benchmarking is a simple energy management tool that allows you to track and assess energy and water consumption across your entire portfolio of buildings. Whether you own, manage, or hold properties for investment, benchmarking will all you to set investment priorities, identify under-performing buildings, verify efficiency improvements, and receive EPA recognition for superior energy performance.
For many facilities, you can rate their energy performance on a scale of 1–100 relative to similar buildings nationwide. This rating is similar to the Miles Per Gallon (MPG) rating of a car in that it tells you how energy efficient a particular building is. A rating of 50 indicates that the building, from an energy consumption standpoint, performs better than 50% of all similar buildings nationwide, while a rating of 75 indicates that the building performs better than 75% of all similar buildings nationwide. Conversely, seeing that a building uses more energy than 80 or 90% of similar buildings can be a convincing indicator for building improvements.
Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager is one of the most commonly used tools for benchmarking your building’s energy use. Among others include Go Solar California and CalARCH which offered simplified tools for comparing facilities.
New Law Requirements
San Francisco Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance
On February 8, 2011 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance. This ground-breaking decision is expected to lower the energy costs for commercial buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs. This ordinance requires all commercial buildings greater than 10,000 square feet (sqft) to perform an energy audit and benchmark report.
In November of 2007, California passed Assembly Bill 1103, mandating energy benchmarking and energy disclosure for non-residential buildings. It requires non-residential business owners to input energy consumption and other building data into the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager system. AB 1103 mandates disclosure of a building’s energy data and rating of the previous year to prospective buyers and lessees of the entire building or lenders financing the entire building. This law will take effect by January 1, 2012.
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