Benchmarking—taking a building’s energy performance and comparing performance against regional and national data—is a critical tool for commercial business operations. The insight and information gained is invaluable and can really move an organization forward in new ways from saving money to saving energy. Here are a few benchmarking tips that can help commercial businesses save money.
First, you will want to determine your goals. Does your organization want to save energy, earn an energy-efficient or eco-friendly rating, save money, or simply see how one building’s energy use compares to another?
Analyze the Costs
You’ll need the annualized cost per square foot in order to account for seasonality and size differences throughout your buildings. The peak demand per square foot is also a key metric in order to find comparisons to other buildings. The cost per unit for each account should also be considered in order to prioritize the areas that will offer the biggest return. Furthermore, determine the total costs that are involved in conducing energy benchmarking and analyze the data to see what benefits you’d get in return for your investment.
Build a Team
Make sure that you have champions onboard throughout your organization, especially at the senior management level. The success of any plan requires an understanding across multiple levels in order to make it a priority. Also seek out the expertise of leaders in conducting an energy audit.
Identify the Requirements
Make sure your organization knows what data is necessary and where/how to get it. You may be able to get data from your utility provider. You will also need to factor in the gross floor area, hours of operation, number of workers, number of computers or other appliances that draw power, as well as the heating and cooling requirements for the building throughout the year.
Create a Plan/Choose a Method
The end result of energy benchmarking is detailed information. It’s what you choose to do with this information that determines the value your organization can now gain. Generally, easy-to-understand summary statements that explain a building’s energy performance are needed.
Select a Benchmarking Tool
There are many ways to benchmark. Companies can use self-assessment tools, or find an expert company that can provide more comprehensive services.
Implement the Plan
Energy benchmarking can reveal a wide swathe of areas for improvement such as retrofitting doors and windows; adding heat recovery ventilators; implementing LED lighting; getting Energy Star-certified products; or even upgrading to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. A LEED-certified building tends to cost two percent more to construct, however, savings across many areas means that improvements continually add value as the years add up.
By consistently monitoring data and updating your records, you’ll be able to see results, and find incentive to continue looking for new efficiencies that can save you money. This can also help with any benchmarking you want to do in the future.
About PL Energy Services
Commercial energy benchmarking is a task that requires careful, comprehensive work from an experienced energy company. If you’re looking for an energy audit in Ontario, PL Energy Services has an excellent track record, as well as 20 years of experience. Our team of specialists are experts in all areas of energy benchmarking. Contact us today to learn more.