30 Jul Energy Benchmarking – How To Get Started
What is Energy Benchmarking
Building energy benchmarking, simply put, refers to a systemic and continuous process of reviewing your building’s ongoing energy consumption to determine how optimally it’s functioning. It can be internal- measuring the building’s present performance to the past or it could be external, which involves comparing two buildings or more altogether. Regardless of the type, the data studied motivates owners and occupants to strive for improvement.
It facilitates in identifying the poorly performing buildings, establishing a baseline for measuring the improvement, enhancing a competitive spirit through comparison. Moreover, it is also in many ways an initial step towards partaking in green compliance for studying the building’s energy consumption probes the required interventions to make it energy efficient, and ultimately enjoy the credibility that comes with various certifications.
How It Works
Energy benchmarking essentially involves tools like ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, internal or external data is collected, following which the data is verified to ensure reliability and accuracy. Energy benchmarking is becoming mandatory with grappling threats of climate change that have only blown out post the pandemic. Therefore, it is wiser and safer to participate and invest in energy benchmarking and reap the benefits.
The following steps are typically involved in the verification process:-
– performing verification on site
-randomly considering sampling utility meter data
-comparing against the baseline to essentially trace the progress over time
-filtering out abnormally high or low energy use intensity (EUI). Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey provides the national median values
-curating a protocol for filling in the gaps since not all data will be accurate
-evaluating your building’s performance to similar buildings
How to Get Started?
1. Make an energy benchmarking plan
This shall help you deal with uncertainties and initial confusions. Begin with explicitly stating the purpose of your and goals for your benchmarking plan along with mentioning the intended audience for the results. The audience could be clients, management, investors etc. Next step is to pick your metrics which will be necessary to communicate the results clearly and also finalizing how to proceed for data collection. We also recommend having a separate team with individual role clarity devoted to benchmarking. Further, let the team determine the benchmarking tool & software they’re comfortable with. Also, determine the verification process (that’s been explained above) beforehand.
2. Utilize the available resources
The most widely used energy benchmarking tools are ENERGY STAR and GRESB. Both their websites provide excellent sources and information related to energy benchmarking. However, there are numerous other benchmarking tools, guidelines and standards all of which are offered upon downloading the EnergyWatch E-book.
3) Use energy benchmarking software
Energy benchmarking is a long drawn and comprehensive process for managing a company’s energy usage and keeping tabs on the utility bills for it is a complex job and requires round the clock attention. This is unachievable without the assistance of certain reliable software. EnergyWatch’s watchwire platform offers a platform for energy management & benchmarking in order to comply with the policies as mandated in the Local Law 84. It also collects and monitors the data making sure its detailed, consistent and accurate.
NYC Local Law 84, introduced in 2009 mandates buildings over 50,000 square feet or groups of buildings on a single lot larger than 100,000 square feet to partake in ‘energy benchmarking’ – to annually measure, track, and report the energy & water consumption. This is done to facilitate a comparative understanding of the building’s energy usage.
It is one of the four plans part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan and it easily applies to at least more than 16,000 buildings in NYC
For more information, reach out to us or call us at (212) 889-6566
PACE financing program- Forward thinking investment
With accelerating need for curbing greenhouse emissions, New York City approved ‘property assessed clean energy’ (PACE) ordinance to help building owners finance their retrofitting projects through low or no interest loans, whereby the obligation of repayment is attached to the building and not to the owner. The idea is that the building owners pay off the loan out of their funds saved from opting efficiency upgrades and thus, incurring no extra costs. PACE can both increase value of the property and save owner’s money by reducing energy costs. However, implementation of PACE program has been delayed owing to several reasons, but most importantly due to Covid-19 crises.
Decarbonising the Energy Sector
Procurement of enough renewable electricity to balance building’s emissions seems to be a daunting task. Local Law 97 permits building owners to meet up to 100 percent of their compliance obligations by buying renewable power, provided that, the electricity must feed directly into New York City’s grid. The proposed Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line carries hydropower from Quebec south to New York City. By the mid-2020s, electricity from wind farms offshore Long Island should begin replacing zero-carbon power from the Indian Point nuclear power plant.
Energy Efficiency Retrofits
While the cost for retrofits would seem as an added cost for building owners, the same would be recovered at a belated stage by reduced operating expenses. In order to meet the challenges ahead, building owners must do retrofits differently, and at a large scale. Invention of new technologies and new business models with labour and professional services will flourish significant changes. Many changes lay ahead, but there’s also an enormous opportunity for market growth if we invest now.
As a matter of fact, primary concern for everyone at present is the impact of COVID-19 but 2024 is right around the corner and retrofits cannot just happen for a building overnight. It is important to understand where these buildings stand at this point, so as to evaluate potential future risks and penalties. Therefore, if the compliances are not done any sooner, there will be a rush towards the deadlines, therefore resulting in heavy penalties. For more information on NYC Climate Mobilization Act, get in touch with us.