Commercial buildings use a lot of energy, and energy usage can almost always be improved upon. However, before you begin making upgrades and improvements, you have to know where you’re wasting energy and money to make the most impactful decisions for your budget.
You could jump right into an energy audit on your building, but even modern audits are time-consuming and can be expensive. And if the building you’re auditing already performs well on its energy consumption, you might not be getting the best value for your time and money.
Instead, conducting an energy benchmark to see how your energy consumption compares to that of other buildings of similar size and use can give you valuable data to help you understand where to focus your time and money, making the most improvements in energy usage.
3 Reasons to Conduct an Energy Benchmark
Finding your building’s current energy usage, as well as beginning to identify any potential weak spots, is a quick, easy process that may save you time and money in the long run. Rather than skipping a step and jumping right to auditing all your properties, benchmarking can give you a starting point to make the process of becoming more energy efficient easier.
Here are 3 great reasons to conduct energy benchmarks on all properties you manage:
Identify Your Energy Hogs
Managing a portfolio of properties is expensive, with frequent repairs, taxes to be paid, and utility bills to keep up with.
If you’ve got multiple buildings you’re responsible for, it can be difficult to fully understand which ones are costing you more money on an ongoing basis.
By using energy benchmarking, you can fully understand which buildings are your energy hogs, giving you insight into where you should focus your upgrade time and money. Tackling the buildings that are wasting the most energy first gives you the most bang for your buck, bringing overall utility bills lower and conserving more energy.
Without energy benchmarking, you may end up allocating resources to your best performing buildings leaving your energy hogs to still be a drag on your efficiency or you could upgrade everything and spend unnecessarily.
Don’t waste your time, effort, and money. Start with energy benchmarking, then audit the worst-performing spots first.
Your days are already jam-packed with meetings and responsibilities, to the point where it feels as if you couldn’t possibly add another obligation.
A single energy audit, even with a modern platform, takes time. You have to make sure everything’s ready for the audit, conduct the audit, and assess the results.
If you’re auditing multiple buildings, that’s a lot of extra time to find in your schedule.
Taking a little bit of time up front to benchmark your energy usage helps you triage where you’re going to focus your auditing time. If you find that one of your buildings is doing pretty well on energy usage, you know you can strike that audit from your schedule.
Not only does benchmarking show you where you need to focus your time, it also is faster than conducting a full audit, giving you answers more promptly.
Many municipalities have begun to require that all large commercial properties conduct routine energy benchmarking. All federally covered buildings also must complete benchmarking to evaluate energy usage.
Depending on your jurisdiction, your buildings may or may not fall under these regulations, and failing to comply could land you with penalties.
Even if you aren’t required to conduct regular energy benchmarking right now, chances are your municipality may require it in the future. Getting into the habit of conducting benchmarks and making changes to your buildings based on the results will make transitioning to these regulations easier down the road.
3 Free Tools for Energy Benchmarking Your Buildings
Understanding why energy benchmarking is important for your business is only half the battle. The next step is determining what tools you can use to get the data you need to make the best decisions about your energy consumption.
Here are 3 free tools to use for a comprehensive energy benchmark:
Energy Star Portfolio Manager
Energy Star Portfolio Manager is a free online tool that helps you track the energy and water usage in all your buildings, and allows you to compare your results to buildings of similar size and profile.
The tool also allows you to calculate your building’s carbon footprint, track and measure any energy improvements you make, and report on your performance.
The Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey is a nationwide survey of commercial buildings conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
This survey is the only nationally comprehensive collection of data on energy-related characteristics, consumption, and expenditures by commercial buildings. Comparing your own usage and expenditures against the data in the report can give you an idea of how your building stacks up against other similar properties.
Commercial Building Energy Asset Scoring Tool
Run by the Department of Energy, the Energy Asset Scoring Tool assists you with collecting information on your buildings that will be most important in benchmarking.
Simply launch the tool, create a building, and input any data you have collected. The tool gives you an Asset Score Report to give you information on your building’s energy usage and suggestions for improvements.
Effective Audits for Modern Businesses
Your energy audit doesn’t have to be a burden, causing you to spend hours walking around every square foot of space with a clipboard and camera.
Instead, with EMAT Field Auditor, you can conduct energy audits anywhere you can take a tablet or mobile device. Take accurate measurements, organize photos, and analyze data on the go for all the audit data you need in less time.
Don’t feel comfortable conducting an audit on your own? Our team of experienced energy auditors can come to you, giving you a painless energy audit full of all the important information you want to save energy and money. Learn more!