Benchmarking to Save Energy & Reduce Costs
Understanding a building’s energy use is the first step towards making informed decisions about energy-saving improvements that reduce costs and can impress current or potential tenants or buyers.
- For individual buildings, owners and managers can periodically review the building’s energy performance to look for changes in energy usage. A spike in use may signal that equipment, such as a large heating unit or pool pump, may be malfunctioning. An energy auditor can be called in to identify the problem and/or suggest operations and maintenance changes that can lead to savings. Read the Verity Credit Union, Horizon House, Bank of America and Dexter Horton case studies to learn more.
- For multiple buildings, owners and managers can compare the energy use of all buildings and identify assets with the greatest potential for cost savings and investment return. Read the Mercer Court case study to learn more.
- Commercial buildings with an ENERGY STAR score can be compared to other similar buildings and work towards achieving the ENERGY STAR label. A national study by the CoStar Group, found that rental rates in ENERGY STAR-rated buildings command a $2.40 per square foot premium over similar buildings and have 3.6% higher occupancy rates.
- Apartment and condo owners and managers can demonstrate their property’s progress towards becoming more environmentally-friendly. A recent Apartments.com survey found that half of renters said they would take an apartment community’s commitment to environmental issues into consideration when deciding to rent. Read the Horizon House and Mercer Court case studies to learn more.
Utility Rebates and Assistance
- Seattle City Light (SCL): SCL’s Multifamily Program offers property rebates on lighting, windows, and heating, ventilation and cooling updates (HVAC). For in-unit/apartments, they offer free compact fluorescent light bulbs, showerheads and faucet aerators, and refrigerator replacement rebates.
- SCL’s Energy Smart Services for commercial customers offers financial incentives and technical assistance for both existing facilities and new construction. Visit the links or call an Energy Advisor at 206-684-3800.
- Puget Sound Energy: Visit the Get Re-Energized! website to learn about rebates and assistance, or call an Energy Advisor at 800-562-1482.
- Seattle Steam: Visit the Seattle Steam website or call 206-623-6366 to learn how it helps customers benchmark and increase their buildings energy efficiency.
- Community Power Works: Community Power Works helps
small food service businesses and
corner stores find solutions to all
levels of energy inefficiencies, while
taking advantage of Community
Power Works financing incentives
and local utility rebates.
Resources for Improving Building Energy Efficiency
- ENERGY STAR: The Tools and Resources Library offers a broad range of tools, training and resources to help building managers implement a successful energy management strategy, including the Guidelines for Energy Management and Building Upgrade Manual.
- Seattle 2030 District: The Seattle 2030 District is a ground-breaking high-performance building district in downtown Seattle that aims to reduce environmental impacts of building construction and operations, while increasing Seattle's competitiveness in the business environment and owner's return on investment.
- BetterBricks: BetterBricks is the commercial building initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA). The website contains a wealth of business and technical tools on designing and operating high performance, commercial buildings.
- Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC): NEEC is a non-profit trade association of the energy efficiency industry. NEEC's Directory lists professionals and companies that provide energy efficiency products and technical services, including benchmarking.
- Lighting Design Lab: The Lighting Design Lab is a great resource for information, advice, and demonstrations to provide high quality energy efficient lighting in your buildings.
- Integrated Design Lab: The Integrated Design Lab (IDL) provides regional design teams with access to the best building-performance knowledge available, project-by-project support, and education & training on how to design, construct and operate the healthiest, most productive and energy efficient buildings in North America.
- Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA): BOMA of Seattle King County is a professional trade association whose members either own or manage commercial real estate, or provide goods and services to the industry. BOMA’s Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) is a six series on-line seminar, including a course on benchmarking energy performance using Portfolio Manager.
- Building Operator Certification: Building Operator Certification is a nationally recognized training and certification program for building operators offering improved job skills and more comfortable, energy efficient facilities.
- International Facility Management Association (IFMA): IFMA is a professional association for facility managers that offers eLearning and classroom-based courses, including Certified Facility Manager certification and the Facility Management Professional Program.
- American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE): ASHRAE offers a wide variety of training and education about HVAC and refrigeration efficiency through the ASHRAE Learning Institute.
- Consortium for Energy Efficiency: The Consortium for Energy Efficiency website has detailed information on initiatives to improve energy efficiency in many commercial, industrial, and residential end uses.
- Green Tenant Toolkit: The Green Tenant Toolkit assists tenants and landlords in reaching their sustainability goals within commercial buildings. Although created for San Francisco, the information on green leases and other tools are applicable to Seattle.
- BuildingRating.org offers a library of resources, including information on US and global policies, programs, impact analyses, and rating systems and tools.
- Institute for Market Transformation: Visit IMT to learn about other benchmarking initiatives in other US cities and states.