What is Benchmarking?
Benchmarking tracks the total electricity, natural gas, steam, or other utilities annually used in a building (often called energy or building performance). The U.S. EPA's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is the standard for benchmarking. Benchmark to determine:
- Energy Use Intensity (EUI). The EUI indicates the building's energy use per square foot (kBtu/sq. ft.) per year. A lower score indicates a more efficient building.
- ENERGY STAR Score. About 20 types of buildings will also receive a 1-100 ENERGY STAR rating. A higher score indicates a more efficient building.
Benefits of Benchmarking
- Compare your building's Energy Scores other buildings in Seattle
- Track and assess the energy performance of buildings in your portfolio
- Target priority energy-efficiency improvements
- Partner with utilities to implement energy-efficiency projects-some of which may qualify for financial incentives, or be low or no-cost
- Track improvements on an ongoing basis
- Become more competitive in the real estate market-place.
- Energy-efficient buildings:
- Cost less to operate
- Have higher net operating incomes (NOI)
- Greater asset values
- Better tenant retention and acquisition.
Benchmarking data for energy-efficient buildings, such as offices, grocery, retail and others, can also be used to achieve the ENERGY STAR. According to a national study in 2008 by the CoStar Group, 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. Another study found that ENERGY STAR properties sold for 16% more than identical buildings without the ENERGY STAR. Read about some proven results in Seattle.
Data Exchange: Save Time and Maintain Tenant Privacy
To save owners and managers the effort of manually entering data each month, Seattle City Light, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and Seattle Steam offer "data exchange" (formally called automated benchmarking or ABS) - a direct upload of a building's summarized utility usage to Portfolio Manager. Data exchange maintains tenant privacy by creating a "virtual" meter that summarizes individual tenant's meters at the whole building level. Owners will not see a tenant's meter reading (unless they pay the bill) and they will not need to ask for a tenant's permission, unless there are 4 or fewer PSE tenants with PSE and only one with Seattle City Light. Since utilities have up to 30 days to upload utility data, we highly recommend starting to comply well before April 1st.