Why your building should be benchmarking its energy use
Energy benchmarking has long been an available tool for eco-conscious building managers, but is now becoming a new standard across North America. Several jurisdictions in the United States, as well as the province of Ontario, have mandated energy benchmarking (although which building type varies by jurisdiction, as seen in this 2015 map of United States benchmarking locations). But even in jurisdictions where benchmarking isn’t enforced, building managers are increasingly turning to this tool to help improve their building’s energy management. Here’s why you should consider setting up benchmarking, if you haven’t already.
Measure your building’s energy performance
The idea of benchmarking is to create goals that you measure your building against. These can be internal goals, or external ones where you compare yourself against other buildings. From there, you can track your building’s performance over time – including heating and cooling airflow, electricity and water consumption and more. Setting this system up can be time-consuming but is worth it, as you will be able to identify areas for improvement almost immediately.
ioAirFlow’s network will collect much of this real-time data for you, which helps reduce your input time and automates much of your required data collection.
Use data to take action
Information is knowledge. When it comes to energy benchmarking, having the data on what is performing well in your building and what could be improved is all the information you need to take steps to increase your building’s energy efficiency. Once you’ve started comparing your building’s performance, you can make an action plan on steps you and your building’s tenants can do for a greener building. Energy Star, an international standard for energy efficiency, has a road map guide that shows how your building’s action plan can continuously improve.
Energy benchmarking tools don’t always provide concrete steps your building can take, and some require high technical expertise. At ioAirFlow, we know you are looking for understandable information you can use to take concrete steps towards energy efficiency. Our benchmarking improvement recommendations are easy to understand and read – and our team is ready to help you dig into the data and come up with a solid action plan.
Become part of a green building community
Benchmarking against other buildings is one of the best ways to make sure you are keeping up with industry trends in the green building space. Think of it as a healthy competition – you want to have better benchmarking scores than other buildings similar to yours, because that gives you an edge to attract and retain the best tenants. It’s also a collaborative tool, with buildings working together through data to understand what retrofit solutions are effective, which aren’t, and sharing ideas on how to reach new efficiency goals.
There are some great tools that can help you become part of a green building data-sharing community. One of these is the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, which gives you access to data from hundreds of thousands of buildings, giving you detailed comparison metrics for your building. As ioAirFlow grows, we will be able to provide you with benchmarking data as well, using our customer’s data in a confidential and secure way to measure and compare how our customer’s buildings are improving over time in energy efficiency.
Earn green building certification
There are many certifications that your building can earn that demonstrates your commitment to energy efficiency. Some of the largest certification programs include:
- ISO 50001 Energy Management System Standard: buildings with this certification have minimized their greenhouse gas consumption without sacrificing their building’s performance. This standard requires regular energy reviews against an energy baseline – in other words, having available benchmarking data and an associated action plan. Canadian commercial buildings can access some funding through Natural Resources Canada to help offset some costs of earning ISO 50001 certification – see the link above for more details.
- LEED Green Building Standard: buildings with a LEED certification are demonstrating their commitment to energy efficiency. With a 4-tiered rating level system, buildings earn points across several energy management categories to measure their efficiency over time. LEED is the world’s most widely-used building energy management standard, and requires regular reporting to maintain your certification.
- BOMA Best: North America’s largest assessment and certification program for existing buildings, BOMA recognized leadership in decreasing energy consumption in buildings. Measuring against ten key criteria, BOMA identifies best practices that buildings can implement to increase their efficiency and decrease their energy consumption.
While each of these programs are helpful, their reporting requirements are all different. As a building manager, we know how important your time is. That’s why ioAirFlow can help provide the precise data you need to include in your certification reports. Because our data collects some of the required information, let us compile it for you.
Are you ready to get started with a benchmarking solution? Contact ioAirflow today to see how we can help you.