Automated Energy Benchmarking: A New Solution

Automated Energy Benchmarking: A New Solution
02 June 2016

According to the ENERGY STAR program, the average commercial building wastes 30% of the energy it consumes through inefficient operations and technologies, which is a drain on our economy and creates needless pollution. Building energy benchmarking is a critical step in saving energy by empowering building and facility managers with information about their building’s energy performance, and helps target which buildings are ready to save energy, money, and reduce pollution. In Utah, the once arduous process of benchmarking is now streamlined and automated thanks to Salt Lake City, Rocky Mountain Power, and Questar Gas through their participation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Data Accelerator initiative.

The goal of the Energy Data Accelerator is to connect businesses’ utility accounts with energy benchmarking programs such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®. To achieve this goal, Salt Lake City, Rocky Mountain Power, and Questar Gas teamed up to develop an automated benchmarking tool that allows a building representative to connect their energy meters to the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® through an automatic, monthly upload of utility data. Utah Clean Energy was involved in the initiative as well, and we are pleased to report that Rocky Mountain Power’s automated benchmarking tool has already enrolled 85 Utah buildings! What’s more, Questar Gas’ automated benchmarking program is slated for implementation beginning in late 2016.

You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure

Energy waste in buildings is a substantial contributor to local air pollution, posing a challenge to economic development and the quality of life in Salt Lake City and along the Wasatch Front. Building energy benchmarking is the first step in effectively managing energy consumption in commercial buildings. Benchmarking using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® gives building and facility managers an easy to understand ENERGY STAR Score, allowing simple comparison to their baseline energy consumption and other similar buildings. Before the automated benchmarking tool, a significant amount of time and effort was required to manually track down and enter utility data into the Portfolio Manager software. Automated energy benchmarking allows building owners in Utah to benchmark their buildings with significantly less staff time and effort, thus driving greater awareness of energy efficiency opportunities and encouraging the implementation of energy efficiency improvements in commercial buildings.

Rocky Mountain Power’s automated energy benchmarking tool has already earned significant distinction, including recognition by the White House and the U.S. Department of Energy. On the local front, Governor Herbert recently honored Salt Lake City and Rocky Mountain Power as a Finalist for the Governor’s Excellence in Energy Award.