The first step to save energy in existing buildings is to set a baseline or “benchmark” of current energy consumption. Building energy benchmarking allows a building to be compared to itself over time, to other buildings of the same type, or to an applicable energy standard.
To benchmark an existing building’s energy use, two general pieces of information are required:
1. General Building Characteristics (location, size, population, use and age)
2. Energy Consumption Information (electricity, natural gas/propane and steam usage)
MEEA assists Midwest cities and state governments with collecting internal data, utility energy data acquisition and benchmarking programs for publicly-owned buildings. State benchmarking initiatives and policies can be found on respective state policy pages. Many cities in the Midwest have also passed benchmarking ordinances for privately-owned buildings.
Why Track Energy Use?
By creating an energy tracking or benchmarking process, building owners and managers are able to better gauge the performance of their buildings. In addition, this data can be used to create more accurate energy budgets, identify underperforming buildings and pinpoint specific energy reduction measures. This data can also help to verify savings completed by energy service companies or within performance contracts and earn recognition in ENERGY STAR®, Green Globes, LEED and/or local challenge programs.
Process to Develop an Energy Management Program
Who Benefits from Benchmarking a Building’s Energy Use?
By creating an accurate building energy use picture, decision makers are able to precisely target energy improvement projects. Benchmarking can also be used to verify the outcome of any operational or building improvement program/project. This information can better manage building energy use and benefit building owners, facility managers, utilities, tenants and city or state administrators.