What is Benchmarking?
With many states and local municipalities now requiring some form of Energy Benchmarking for commercial buildings and many larger corporate companies creating their own standards for normalized comparison, one of the most common questions we get is "What is the real meaning of 'Benchmarking'?"
Simply put (as it relates to building energy cost and consumption): building energy benchmarking is the process of comparing a building to its own history and to that of other similar buildings, usually normalized using various factors.
Am I Required to Benchmark?
It depends. Most companies have realized that benchmarking is key to gauging performance, setting objectives, and quantifying results within a portfolio. As a result, many have started their own internal benchmarking programs for not just building energy consumption but also other performance indicators and metrics which are key to their unique business.
If you own or manage a commercial building in Washington, DC or Montgomery County, MD that is over 50,000 sq ft, chances are that you fall under their respective energy benchmarking disclosure requirements (including multifamily properties in the District). In both municipalities, building owners are required by law to benchmark their buildings' energy consumption using Energy Star Portfolio Manager, then submit the information to the city/county's respective Department of the Environment (DOEE / DEP) using their online tools. In Montgomery County, however, an additional step of data verification by a certified professional is required in order to validate that the information being submitted is as accurate and actionable as possible.
Each municipality publishes a list of potentially covered buildings. Below are links to those for 2017 reporting (of 2016 Data):
If you have not yet taken care of the benchmarking disclosure for your property, would like to take a more actionable approach to assessing your facility, or just want to eliminate the need to manually enter and submit the data year after year, our fully-automated online utility dashboard or—for those looking to take their building energy strategy to the next level—Actionable Building Consulting platform may be good options for your business.