You cannot manage what you cannot measure.
Building energy performance benchmarking is a process of using information you have to evaluate your energy use or efficiency of a building, and compare it with other similar buildings or the performance of the building at the same time last year. Simply put, benchmarking is answering the questions, “How are we doing?” or “How do we know how we are doing?” or “Where do we need to improve?”. Benchmarked data can be utilized to establish energy reduction goals, identify opportunities for reduction in consumption and costs, gain certifications and recognition for high performing buildings, and, also to quantify and demonstrate energy and financial savings as a result of energy efficiency improvements. Tracking a buildings energy use is a necessary first step toward the reduction in energy consumption and the costs associated. By benchmarking a building the building owners and managers are provided with information they need to make the best decisions about the buildings systems or what efficiency investments may need to be made.
Encouraging the widespread use of benchmarking will require education and technical understanding of the process and tools, as well as the allocation of time and/or staff resources. There is a multitude of resources available regarding the collection of data to assist in the increased understanding of benchmarked results.
SPEER is working in coordination with the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) and the Department of Energy to increase the participation of local governments in benchmarking programs. SPEER is currently reaching out to cities in Texas to provide them with training on the newly created Energy Benchmarking Toolkit; this toolkit is a web based tool that will assist communities across Texas in benchmarking their own government buildings, expand to create a benchmarking program for other buildings in their community or finally design a mandatory community-wide benchmarking program. It also provides communities with extensive resources to assist in making the decision to move forward with a benchmarking program and the type of program that best suits that particular community. SPEER will be working with communities to provide training and workshops so city officials can learn about benchmarking, its benefits and gain expertise in using it for tracking energy use in their own buildings. SPEER is also providing one-on-one assistance to cities that need help moving forward with their benchmarking efforts.
Additional Benchmarking Resources:
Our Building Operator Certification Course builds on the benchmarked data to optimize the energy management of any commercial building. SPEER’s outreach will be done in collaboration with other state and national efforts to facilitate benchmarking and energy data collection.
Energy Benchmarking Toolkit: This web-based tool will help communities across Texas benchmark their own government buildings and create programs for other buildings in their community.
Smart Meter Texas: The Smart Meter Texas website was designed to give customers with smart meters more control over their electricity use. Consumers in energy service competitive areas of the state can register at www.SmartMeterTexas.com to access detailed views of their electric usage history in 13-month, 30-day, or 24-hour snapshots down to 15-minute intervals including usage data up two days previous.
Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®: Portfolio Manager is an interactive energy management tool that allows you to track and assess energy and water consumption across your entire portfolio of buildings in a secure online environment.
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Standard Energy Efficiency Data (SEEDTM) Platform: The Standard Energy Efficiency Data (SEED)™ Platform is a software application that helps organizations easily manage data on the energy performance of large groups of buildings. This is currently being piloted by six cities in the U.S. (including Austin, TX) and the DOE is looking for additional cities to participate. SPEER will work in collaboration with DOE to identify cities/municipalities in its region which could participate in the SEED pilot study and also gain benefits from this data management platform.
Green Button: Green Button is an industry-led effort that responds to a White House call-to-action to provide utility customers with easy and secure access to their energy usage information in a consumer-friendly and computer-friendly format. Customers are able to securely download their own detailed energy usage with a simple click of a literal “Green Button” on electric utilities’ websites. Green Button functionality is currently being offered by select utilities in Texas and SPEER will work on increasing the access of utility data for customers in its region.