Benchmarking: You may have heard about it in your local news, from colleagues, or you may already be in the process of completing it for your facility. The topic is popular because dozens of municipalities across the nation are requiring owners to benchmark their facilities to meet strict energy-reduction mandates.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, buildings will consume over 8,955 trillion Btu of energy in 2017 alone. This energy consumption is mostly from heating, cooling, and lighting systems. A 2015 report by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute reports that buildings account for 39% (a total of more than 2.2 billion metric tons) of all CO2 emissions in the United States, the major contributor of greenhouse gases (GHG). And the energy usage and emissions from buildings are projected to grow the fastest – by current projections, that number will increase by 1.8% a year over the next 23 years and contribute directly to accelerated global warming as recognized by the majority of the international scientific community.
Building Energy Benchmarking quantifies the amount of energy an existing building consumes, generally tracked on a square foot basis over time. When compared to similar buildings, Building Energy Benchmarking becomes a tool for evaluating performance. This comparison can highlight opportunities or improvements in energy performance, or for new construction set a performance expectation based on a predicted energy model or energy code requirements. Benchmarking is a low-cost activity, and investing in energy efficiency saves money for building owners in the long term.
Check out our useful whitepaper: Building Energy Benchmarking Part I: The First Steps Toward Improving Performance to learn more about the process of benchmarking. We have also included links to city’s ordinance pages so you can stay up-to-date with mandates that may be evolving in your area.