ENERGY STAR BENCHMARKING
One method of assessing your building’s 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 portfoliro of buildings. Whether you own, manage, or hold properties for investment, benchmarking will allow you to set investment priorities, identify under-performing buildings, verify efficiency improvements, and receive EPA recognition for superior energy performance.
What if you want to know how you stack up against similar facilities across the nation that look and operate like yours?
There’s a solution: EPA’s 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score. It’s available for 21 different types of facilities.
WHY Benchmark Your Building
Benchmarking adds value to your business
Even if your building isn’t eligible to be certified as ENERGY STAR, benchmarking still adds value. In fact, buildings that consistently benchmark energy use save an average of 2.4 percent per year. These findings from EPA’s Data Trends series are based on data from more than 100,000 buildings that benchmarked energy use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
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.
The average commercial building wastes 30 percent of the energy it consumes. That means that if you haven’t done anything to save energy, chances are, you’ll find many opportunities to improve.
And there’s more good news: You don’t have to spend money to save energy. Start with no- and low-cost improvements, and then use savings to pay for more extensive upgrades.
Low- and no-cost energy-efficiency measures
There are some practices that aren’t just good, they’re the best. And the ideas below are based on best practices from leading ENERGY STAR partners who know how to trim their energy waste with nothing more invested than time and elbow grease. But remember … low-hanging fruit grows back quickly. Have a plan for how to monitor and maintain savings to avoid snapback.
Find best practices for:
- Conduct a night time audit to find out what’s on after hours that shouldn’t be.
- Improve operations and maintenance practices by regularly checking and maintaining equipment to ensure its functioning efficiently.
- Optimize start-up time, power-down time, and equipment sequencing.
- Revise janitorial practices to reduce the hours that lights are turned on each day.
- Perform monthly maintenance of heating and cooling equipment to guarantee efficient operation throughout the year.
- Review and emphasize the financial and environmental results of a preventative maintenance program for major systems and components.
- Set goals and a methodology to track and reward improvements.
- Visually inspect insulation on all piping, ducting and equipment for damage (tears, compression, stains, etc.).
- Turn off lights when not in use or when natural daylight is sufficient. This can reduce lighting expenses by 10 to 40 percent.
- Maximize daylighting. After all, sunlight is free! Open or close blinds to make the best use of natural daylight and take advantage of skylights or other natural daylight sources to reduce lighting during daytime hours.
- Use task lighting where feasible.
- Implement a regular lighting maintenance program.
- Remove unnecessary lamps (de-lamp) in over-lit areas. Check your light levels against standards from the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) to see if you have areas that are over- or under-lit.
- Enable the power management function on office computers, which automatically puts monitors to sleep when not in use.
- Activate sleep settings on all printers, copiers, fax machines, scanners, and multifunction devises so that they automatically enter a low-powered sleep mode when inactive. Use the owner’s manual to make the setting changes yourself, or ask your service vendor to ensure your machines are configured to take full advantage of these features.
- Consolidate stand-alone office equipment to achieve a ratio of one device (typically a networked multifunction device) per 10 or more users. Typical cost savings can reach 30 to 40 percent for electricity, hardware, consumables (paper, ink, and toner), and maintenance.
- Plug electronics into a “smart” power strip that let you designate which electronics should always be on, and which ones do not need power when they’re not in use.
- Set back the thermostat in the evenings and other times when the building isn’t occupied.
- Regularly change or clean HVAC filters every month during peak cooling or heating season. Dirty filters cost more to use, overwork the equipment, and result in lower indoor air quality.
- Adjust thermostats for seasonal changes.
- Use shades and blinds to control direct sun through windows in both summer and winter to prevent or encourage heat gain.
- Control direct sun through windows depending on the season and local climate. During cooling season, block direct heat gain from the sun shining through glass on the east and especially west sides of the facility. Depending on your facility, options such as “solar screens,” “solar films,” awnings, and vegetation can help. Over time, trees can attractively shade the facility, and help clean the air. Interior curtains or drapes can help, but it’s best to prevent the summer heat from getting past the glass and inside. During heating season, with the sun low in the south, unobstructed southern windows can contribute solar heat gain during the day.
- Calibrate thermostats to ensure that their ambient temperature readings are correct.
- Make sure that areas in front of vents are clear of furniture and paper. As much as 25 percent more energy is required to distribute air if your vents are blocked.
- Shorten the preventive maintenance intervals for replacing air handler filters. These keep air clean and prevent equipment from working harder to force air through dirty filters.
- Clean the evaporator and condenser coils on heat pumps, air-conditioners, or chillers. Dirty coils inhibit heat transfer; keeping coils clean saves energy.
- Repair leaks and adjust pressure in compressed air systems.
- Repair steam trap leaks; replace malfunctioning steam traps.
- Repair damaged insulation and replace missing insulation with thicknesses calculated for the operating and ambient conditions of the mechanical system.
- Keep exterior doors closed while running your HVAC. It sounds simple, but it will help avoid wasteful loss of heated or cooled air!
Benchmarking drives action
You know what’s motivating? Finding out you’re behind the curve and you didn’t even know it. Fortunately, ENERGY STAR has the tools and resources to help you get ahead. Once you benchmark your energy performance, you’ll have a better idea what to do next.
Got a low score? Time to do an energy audit and see where you may be wasting energy. The good news is you have the potential to save your organization money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions!
Got a 75 or higher? Congrats! Apply for ENERGY STAR certification and show the world that your facility is energy-efficient. But even ENERGY STAR certified facilities have room to improve, so keep benchmarking to ensure that you continue moving in the right direction!
How do I improve my properties with low scores?
The average commercial building wastes 30% of the energy it consumes. That means that if you haven’t done anything to save energy yet, chances are, you’ll find many opportunities to improve. And you don’t necessarily have to spend money to save energy. Start with no- and low-cost improvements, and then use savings to pay for more extensive upgrades.
To improve your properties:
- Use EPA’s Guidelines for Energy Management to determine where to start and how to maximize the return on your upgrade investments.
- Refer to EPA’s Building Upgrade Manual to learn more about specific upgrade strategies and technologies.
- Information on energy management, efficient technologies, and financial evaluation can be found on the Resources & News page.
- Finally, your organization can take full advantage of our resources and
services to optimize the improvements to your building. Star out by
knowing your next steps. Receive our expanded services by obtaining
a Scoping Energy Audit along with your Energy Star Benchmarking.
As you implement new management strategies and technical upgrades, you can use Portfolio Manager to track goals and changes in your buildings’ energy use in order to verify improvement.
Did you know the average building wastes about a third of the energy it uses? That’s why good energy management is good business. By capturing these inefficiencies, you can reduce your energy costs. And by reducing the amount of energy you use, you prevent greenhouse gases from being emitted at power plants, which helps create a cleaner, healthier environment.
It’s a budget-tested and planet-approved strategy for achieving the triple bottom line.
Benefits of Being Energy Star Certified
ENERGY STAR labeled buildings are more competitive, more valuable, and more profitable.
Higher Occupancy Trend
Did you know that changes in occupancy have a potentially large financial impact for building owners and managers?
For example, a one percent increase in occupancy in a100,000 SF. building renting at $30 per square foot would be worth $0.30 per square foot, or $30,000 per year. To achieve such savings through energy efficiency in a building with annual energy costs of $1.50/SF would require as much as a 20 percent reduction in energy use.
Several factors lead us to expect ENERGY STAR labeled buildings to be associated with higher levels of occupancy. First, these buildings are more likely to have energy-efficient lighting and ventilation systems,and advanced energy management and control systems (EMCS), compared to non-labeled buildings.
These technologies have been demonstrated to improve occupant comfort and attitude toward occupied space.Increased tenant satisfaction can lead to higher occupancy and greater profitability. As shown in Figure 4, ENERGY STAR labeled buildings with the highest occupancy also have higher reported use of EMCS.
Benchmarking for Multiple Properties
If you own or manage a portfolio of several properties, energy benchmarking can aid in the decision when considering which building(s) need investment first. We can assist in creating a database that is automatically updated each month so you can compare and know which buildings are operating more or less efficiently. Here is how it works:
Benchmarking Mandates and Ordinances
Benchmarking Law Compliance
The Benchmarking Law requires the County to make reported benchmarking information readily available to the public.
Los Angeles Energy & Water Ordinance as of January 2017
The City of Los Angeles now requires buildings to submit annual Energy Benchmarks to comply with the Existing Buildings Energy & Water Efficiency Ordinance (EBEWE). The purpose of an Energy Benchmark is to determine how efficient a building is and how much potential there is to save money on energy costs.
As mandated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, all buildings that fail to comply by July 1, 2017 are subject to penalties and public disclosure of non-compliance.
You are just a click away of becoming compliant with your City or Counties Ordinance. Let The R Group provide you with our starter package for your building. Now you can become compliant and know what to do next.
Our Benchmarking and Scoping Audit package is just the kickstart your building needs. At no additional cost have both services get you back on track.
Make every decision count! Know what to do to your building to keep it competitive in today’s market of being Green. Receive your benchmarking compliance and a valuable Energy Scoping Audit all in one step. Don’t let the requirements of the EBEWE program being implemented in Los Angeles get the best of you. Our knowledgeable Project Managers can answer your questions and get you back on track.
Call us now, stop wasting energy.
Montgomery County, Maryland Benchmarking Ordinance
Montgomery County passed a benchmarking and transparency law (Bill 2-14, and amended with Bill 35-15), requiring the County and building owners to benchmark energy use in certain nonresidential buildings of 50,000 square feet or greater with the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool, have those data verified by a Recognized Data Verifier, and disclose those data to Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection
The R Group is a third-party engineering firm qualified to conduct your buildings Energy Benchmark and submit the required documentation on your behalf. The R Group will assist and help building owners and managers comply with this new Ordinance.
Our Benchmarking and Scoping Audit package is just the kickstart your building needs. At no additional cost have both services to get you back on track.
Make every decision count! Know what to do to your building to keep it competitive in today’s market of being Green. Receive your benchmarking compliance and a valuable Energy Scoping Audit all in one step.
Call us now, stop wasting energy.
Comply Now with your Benchmarking Compliance Law
Request an Energy Audit Quote for your Cities
energy ordinance requirements
1st Benchmark Due:July 1, 2017
New Extension Due: November 1, 2017
The R Group is standing by to help!