One method of assessing energy savings potential without an in-depth energy audit is by benchmarking your building’s energy use against similar properties. Benchmarking is the process of comparing the energy performance of a particular commercial building to a range of energy-performance values of similar buildings.
Benchmarking is a simple energy management tool that allows you to track and assess energy and water consumption across your entire portfolio of buildings. Whether you own, manage, or hold properties for investment, benchmarking will allow you to set investment priorities, identify under-performing buildings, verify efficiency improvements, and receive EPA recognition for superior energy performance.
For many facilities, you can rate their energy performance on a scale of 1–100 relative to similar buildings nationwide. This rating is similar to the Miles Per Gallon (MPG) rating of a car in that it tells you how energy efficient a particular building is. A rating of 50 indicates that the building, from an energy consumption standpoint, performs better than 50% of all similar buildings nationwide, while a rating of 75 indicates that the building performs better than 75% of all similar buildings nationwide. Conversely, seeing that a building uses more energy than 80 or 90% of similar buildings can be a convincing indicator for building improvements.
Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager is one of the most commonly used tools for benchmarking your building’s energy use. Among others include Go Solar California and CalARCH which offered simplified tools for comparing facilities.
Solar Rebate Requirements
As mandated the California Energy Commission, all non-residential properties must have an energy audit performed on their building before solar rebates are disbursed. Some utility companies, such as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), now require benchmarking along with the energy audit. Each utility is different so speak with your energy consultant to ensure you have completed all the requirements.