Customer Experience
July 30, 2019

Energy benchmarking comes of age

Demands for greater energy efficiency drive new best practices

Benchmarking is making a significant impact because we’re in a new era where energy use is under greater scrutiny. Local, state, and federal agencies, along with non-governmental organizations, are striving to improve energy efficiency performance standards. Whether it’s for meeting sustainability goals, reducing carbon footprints or just saving money by using less energy; benchmarking is gaining attention, and for a good reason.

As more buildings share their energy-use information, the collected data is being aggregated into insightful, working strategies to help establish meaningful and fair energy efficiency goals.

Progress made, but more improvements needed

Already, efficiency standards for equipment and appliances, and stronger building codes have helped to significantly improve energy efficiency. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, from 2007 to 2017, energy intensity has decreased in commercial buildings.

However, fossil-fuel combustion attributed to commercial buildings now accounts for roughly 11.4% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions1. And the projected growth of large-scale structures will challenge CO2 reduction goals.

New ordinances require action 

A growing number of communities and cities are taking on sustainability and energy efficiency issues as part of their ongoing policies for public, commercial and multifamily buildings. They want large buildings in their jurisdictions to be as efficient as possible with energy resources. This is resulting in the use of benchmarking as a proof point in the process because you can’t manage success unless you measure results.

The New York City effect

According to proposed legislation by the New York City Council, skyscrapers like the Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building could face fines of up to millions of dollars per year if they do not significantly reduce emissions by 2030. As other cities possibly model this approach, new pressures for energy efficiency performance become apparent.

Reporting ease with Xcel Energy’s Benchmarking Portal

Benchmarking is an excellent first step to determine if an energy efficiency plan is needed. For community ordinance reporting, commercial businesses have an opportunity to access meter data from their buildings collected through our Xcel Energy Benchmarking Portal. Our Benchmarking Portal tool eases the benchmarking process by:

1.       Aggregating the data with seamless integration. By mapping individual building utility meters to whole building data results, true building data can be collected.

2.       Streamlining the consent. We keep customer data privacy in mind. For multi-tenant buildings, energy usage data is collected from no less than four tenants, and whole building energy use data is collected from more than 50% of the tenants.

3.       Auto uploading. Transfer whole-building energy usage automatically via the web to the Portfolio Manager.

To learn how to get set up with our benchmarking portal, visit here -- and download our Energy Benchmarking Services User Guide.

Web portal brings a valuable perspective

A growing database of energy usage information means benchmarking can provide more meaningful comparisons. This can be realized through a web portal where data can be observed and acted on. The ideal outcome is more accurate benchmarking data to help create highly focused goal-setting efforts.

Glances: Real-life energy efficiency results via benchmarking

  •        120-year old Denver boutique hotel finds success with Energy Star Portfolio Manager and LED lighting retrofit of guest rooms that resulted in an ROI of 167%.3
  •       East Denver Medical Office Building achieves 31% improvement in benchmarking score for average annual savings of $38,633.4
  •       South East Denver Office Building built in 2002 sees LED Lighting upgrades result in monthly reductions in energy bills with an average return on investment payback of fewer than four years.5

Benchmarking data, now what?

Your benchmarking score is a great indicator of energy waste within your buildings. Improving the score contributes toward your community energy goals—and reducing energy use means reducing your energy bill. 

To get started finding energy efficiencies and rebates to offset costs for improvements, contact your Xcel Energy account manager. Or, call our Business Solutions Center at 855.839.8862 to get free advice from our energy advisors. 

The big win

With regular and accurate energy use data, a level playing field can be established where each building can be appropriately matched with attainable goals, resulting in on-going energy efficiency gains to answer the needs of local, state and federal environmental jurisdictions. It can also be beneficial for your operations bottom line.