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Amidst the goal-driven fervor of January, savvy business owners align their strategies for a successful year One often overlooked money-saving strategy is a comprehensive look at the hidden opportunities to lower energy consumption. Imagine receiving a comprehensive blueprint outlining the improvements you can make to reduce operational costs while also improving your business’ reputation. It may sound too good to be true, but commercial energy benchmarking puts that power into your hands. 

By embarking on the journey of commercial energy benchmarking, you not only identify opportunities to reduce energy waste, but also ensure your business aligns seamlessly with industry standards. The ripple effect of benchmarking extends to an enhanced reputation — demonstrating your commitment to sustainability, fostering a greener future, and gaining a competitive edge. Start the year off right by taking a strategic step into the world of energy efficiency, propelling your business soar to new heights of success.

Key Takeaways

What is commercial energy benchmarking?
Benefits of energy benchmarking for your business
Key metrics and methodologies
Implementation and monitoring progress
Case Study 1: Staples office supplies sets a benchmarking standard
Case Study 2: Commercial benchmarking legislation in Washington state
Future benchmarking trends and innovations
Create a better business through energy benchmarking
Frequently asked questions

What is Commercial Energy Benchmarking?

Commercial energy benchmarking is the standardized process of measuring building energy efficiency as well as how it compares to other buildings of similar size and usage. To make comparisons easy to comprehend, they are typically measured in energy use per square foot or buildings can be rated against predetermined scales that provide a singular numerical score after accounting for the building’s use, climate, and other unique factors. Making energy performance metrics public through benchmarking encourages accountability, competition, and the adoption of energy efficiency improvements or renewable technologies.

Benefits of Energy Benchmarking for Your Businesses

Energy benchmarking is a powerful tool for businesses, offering a comprehensive understanding of energy consumption patterns while encouraging conservation efforts within your industry. By identifying areas for improvements and cost-saving opportunities, businesses can optimize their operations through strategic renovations and energy-saving initiatives. Moreover, the benchmarking process not only facilitates goal setting and performance measurement but also provides your business with a clear roadmap for continuous improvement.

Furthermore, Energy benchmarking encourages transparent reporting practices to establish an industry baseline. This commitment to transparency and accountability fuels healthy competition by identifying industry leaders in energy efficiency and conservation. Industry-wide reporting facilitates ongoing performance measurement while also encouraging businesses to set ambitious efficiency goals. The industry standards established from benchmarking not only benefit your bottom line but also contribute significantly to environmental sustainability — showcasing that what’s good for your wallet is equally beneficial for the planet.

Key Metrics and Methodologies

In order to understand what commercial benchmarking scores mean, it’s essential to understand the key metrics of data that create this scale. Among the most popular energy performance metrics, Energy Use Intensity (EUI) stands out. EUI creates a standardized efficiency score by dividing the total energy consumed by the building in one year by the total floor area of the facility in square feet. Similarly, the Energy Star building score factors in unique aspects of your business such as its physical features, maintenance technologies, daily operations, and industry to calculate a singular score from 1 to 100. To refine these metrics further, businesses often employ Energy Performance Indicators (EPIs), which adjust energy consumption data based on industry-specific parameters, offering a more nuanced understanding of efficiency within your specific field of work.

While EUI is a straightforward comparison of energy consumption and facility size, the Energy Star building score requires a more detailed methodology, calculating a more comprehensive review of your energy performance. Some of this data is gathered from robust energy management software that offers real-time energy consumption monitoring and reporting as well as more detailed assessments of your building envelope through an energy audit. The industry standard for reporting data is Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager, an online database that monitors each member’s energy and water consumption while rating it against comparable businesses. Comparing the insights from your energy performance assessments and how your business compares to others within the Portfolio Manager provides a foundation for making data-driven decisions about energy efficiency goals and upgrades.

Implementation and Monitoring Progress

After setting efficiency goals, the implementation phase begins, starting with energy-saving practices and pursuing efficiency upgrades. It’s important to recognize that these efforts take time, and a phased approach to renovation is standard. Once these improvements are in place, establishing the practice of ongoing data tracking and analysis is essential to monitor your progress towards goals and industry standards. Success in improving your energy performance also requires stakeholder engagement and accountability through transparent reporting practices. It’s important to note that energy efficiency is an ongoing, dynamic process of improvement rather than a singular renovation or achievement.

Two Case Studies Demonstrating Successful Energy Benchmarking

Case Study 1: Staples Office Supplies Sets a Benchmarking Standard

Staples is one of the world’s largest office supply retailers with a dedication to the environment and energy management. The corporation has been in partnership with the Energy Star Program since 1999, being one of the first retailers to benchmark its entire portfolio of over 1,500 retail stores and 200 distribution centers. Staples’ dedication to energy conservation was recognized in 2011 with the award of Energy Star Partner of the Year for outstanding energy management achievements. During this time, they successfully reduced the energy consumption in their entire portfolio of facilities’ by 11.4%. As a result, they became the first retailer to obtain the Energy Star Leaders recognition.

Since 2009, Staples has achieved Energy Star Certification for over 130 of their properties, including more than 100 retail stores, 27 distribution centers, and their corporate headquarters. The company is actively pursuing the ambitious goal of achieving certification in 500 of their facilities, demonstrating their commitment to saving energy, lowering operational costs, and fighting climate change. 

Case Study 2: Commercial Benchmarking Legislation in Washington State

In 2019, Washington State signed the Clean Buildings Act into law. This is a state-wide mandate for commercial buildings to benchmark, report, and implement energy management plans. The implementation of this law is a phased approach, with the largest buildings (220,001+ square feet) complying by 2026, mid-sized buildings (90,001+ square feet) complying by 2027, and remaining commercial buildings (50,000-90,000 square feet) complying by 2028. Buildings will be given an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) target based on their building’s size and function. Buildings that do not meet these targets must follow Investment Criteria outlined in the legislation to implement energy efficiency measures. Organizations failing to implement these measures will face penalties. The purpose of this legislation is to improve state-wide energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and encourage the adoption of renewable energy. Essentially, this legislation holds commercial property owners accountable for their environmental impact and prioritizing environmental sustainability.

Future Benchmarking Trends and Innovations 

As we look to the future, energy benchmarking is poised for transformative advancement driven by cutting-edge technologies. As integrated smart technology becomes the standard for most building systems, the industry of energy management will grow exponentially – revolutionizing the accuracy and efficiency of gathering, analyzing, and reporting energy consumption data. With the global focus on the transition towards clean energy, embracing sustainable practices and implementing renewable energy systems will become more accessible and affordable in the near future. Smart technology integration as well as renewable energy generation and storage are soon to become the standard of conservation and efficiency, enabling business owners to contribute to a healthier environment while reducing their energy expenses and consumption.

Create a Better Business Through Energy Benchmarking

Commercial energy benchmarking is a pivotal strategy for businesses to optimize efficiency, reduce operational costs, and contribute to environmental sustainability. The energy benchmarking journey, from setting goals and implementing measures to ongoing monitoring, reflects a commitment to continuous improvement. The future of energy management is transforming rapidly to keep pace with the global energy transition, resulting in more accessible and affordable energy management technologies. Embracing commercial energy benchmarking practices offers businesses the opportunity to thrive while also making a positive impact on the planet.

For another tactic to help reduce your energy expenses, consider contacting a commercial energy broker, like Integrity Energy. As one of the country’s largest energy brokers, we’re dedicated to finding the most cost-effective energy plans tailored to your business’ unique needs and goals. Take the first step to cost savings by requesting a free quote today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is energy benchmarking important, and what are the benefits?

Energy benchmarking provides a nuanced understanding of energy usage patterns. It identifies opportunities for efficiency improvements and cost savings, facilitates goal setting, establishes industry standards, and contributes to environmental sustainability.

What key performance metrics should businesses focus on when conducting energy benchmarking?

Businesses should monitor key performance metrics like Energy Use Intensity (EUI), their Energy Star Score for building efficiency, and basic benchmarking measurements, such as energy consumption per square foot, to comprehensively assess and improve their energy efficiency.

What are the common challenges faced by businesses when implementing benchmarking initiatives?

Common challenges businesses face include data accuracy issues, resistance to change within the organization, and the complexity of comparing diverse operations within the industry.

How can businesses use benchmarking data to identify areas for improvement and cost-saving opportunities?

When analyzing your business’ benchmarking data, look for outliers and deviations from your industry’s established benchmarks. These deviations highlight areas where your organization is excelling or underperforming, enabling you to make data-driven decisions about energy-saving improvements.

What are the best tools, methodologies, and strategies for successful implementation of energy benchmarking initiatives within a business?

Successfully implementing energy benchmarking initiatives relies on utilizing comprehensive monitoring and reporting tools such as the Energy Star Portfolio Manager or a customized building management system. Furthermore, creating operational standards for data collection and analysis as well as implementing regular performance reviews enable businesses to stay on track with their efficiency and conservation goals.

For additional answers to your energy industry questions, please visit our general FAQ page.