What is an Energy Benchmark Report?
An energy benchmark report measures the energy used per square foot by your building and compares the energy-use intensity of your building against similar-use buildings (i.e. retail, office, etc.) adjusted for business operations (i.e. hours of operation, number of employees, etc.) and weather zone.
Energy Use Intensity (EUI) is expressed in kBtu/sq. ft. This provides a common energy measurement to allow gas usage, often measured in therms, to be added to electrical usage, often measured in kWh, to be added to together to calculate total energy use.
The ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager can assign a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score so you can readily understand how your building’s energy consumption measures up against similar buildings nationwide. The ENERGY STAR score allows everyone to quickly understand how a building is performing.
A score of 50 represents median energy performance. Half of the buildings use more energy per square foot and half use less. If your building earns a score of at least 75 (meaning that it is in the top quartile of similar buildings in the national database) it may qualify for ENERGY STAR certification, which has value in the real estate world.
Not all buildings can be assigned a score of 1-100, however over 20 types of buildings can receive this simple measurement. For a list of buildings that can be scored, see the ENERGY Star Building list.
ENERGY STAR is a simple but powerful tool. Based on actual, measured data, the ENERGY STAR score assesses how your building is performing as a whole: its assets, its operations, and how the people inside use it. Are you open 24 hours? Do you have a high density of workers? The ENERGY STAR score is tailored to account for how your building works in the real world.
There IS value to benchmarking beyond just satisfying benchmarking ordinances. For more information about the advantages of benchmarking and ENERGY STAR certification go to What is ENERGY STAR Certification?
It is important to note that your building is not compared to the other buildings in Portfolio Manager to determine your ENERGY STAR score. Instead, your building is compared to other buildings nationwide that have the same primary use.
EPA uses CBECS* and similarly rigorous statistical surveys as the foundation for the 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score. These surveys are based on samples that represent the national building stock. CBECS also consistently collects the same data from all buildings, from information about their use and physical characteristics to energy data. The data are verified, so it’s the most accurate and complete picture available of the energy used by commercial buildings. The U.S. Energy Information Administration's Commercial Buildings
*Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) a nationally representative source of statistical information on energy-related characteristics, consumption, and expenditures for the nation's 5.6 million commercial buildings totaling 87 billion square feet of floor space.
How is the Benchmark Report Prepared?
All of the current benchmark ordinances in California require the use of the EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to prepare and file the energy benchmark reports with the governing agency. It requires that you enter the information about your building such as type of use, size, intensity-of-use and the energy-use for the reporting period.
Instead of manually entering the monthly energy-use information for each meter for 12 months, your utility company may be able to download the data into Portfolio Manager. The utility will aggregate the energy-use data for certain multi-tenant buildings to avoid disclosing individual tenant’s use. However, if there is an insufficient number of tenants in the building (less than 3 tenants for a commercial building), tenant authorization is required.
What does the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Cost?
The program is free, but it has a steep learning curve and is not very user-friendly. There may be a 1/2 day to 1 day class sponsored by your local utility or governing agency. Also, there is a 31-page instruction manual available, but most property owners choose to use outside expertise from specialists like Pegasus.
Many of our customer have called us after first spending many frustrating and time-consuming hours trying to prepare the report on their own. You can avoid this time and effort by calling Pegasus. We are small business with low costs and we pass the savings on to you.
Call Pegasus for more information or to have your building benchmarked. Talk to Chuck at 415-937-5046