An energy benchmark report provides an analysis of the energy used by a building.  The energy measured is from all sources:  electricity, natural gas and district steam/hot water as well as bulk fuel such as propane and fuel oil.  It also includes energy generated on-site from solar panels or wind turbines.

The net of the analysis is simply energy used per square foot.  This “footprint” is also known as the Energy Use Intensity (EUI).  It is expressed in Btu/Square Foot.

The building EUI is analogous to miles per gallon for an automobile.

The EUI takes into consideration variables such the building type (office, bank, retail, etc.), business use intensity (hours of operation, number of workers, etc.) and weather zone to compute a normalized EUI.

So, it is now comparing apples to apples so to speak, as in comparing MPG only between two mid-size cars. 

If the building is one of the 30+ buildings can qualify for Energy Star certification, the building will receive and ENERGY STAR score.  The ENERGY STAR score is simply a ranking between 1 and 100, where a score of 50 means that half of the similar-type buildings score below and half score above. A score of 75 means that 74% of the building are less energy efficient while 24 percent are more efficient.

With a score of 75 or greater a building may qualify for ENERGY STAR certification. Certification requires submitting an application and an onsite visit by a professional engineer or architect to verify the accuracy of the property data submitted.

A building’s ENERGY STAR certification has value in the marketplace. They tend to:

  • Have lower operating costs
  • Command higher rental rates
  • Have increased asset value
  • Are more marketable
  • Contribute fewer greenhouse gas emissions to the environment.

An energy benchmark report has value beyond just compliance with government regulations.  They can be valuable management tools for controlling energy costs. Energy costs represent nearly 20 percent of total expenditures for a typical office building.  Expressed another way, office buildings in the US spend an average of $1.50 per square foot for electricity and gas. The adage, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” applies.  Benchmark reports allow you to accurately measure your energy consumption and compare it to other similar buildings or your own building’s performance over time.  These reports have value, don’t just file and forget.