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Building Energy Data & Benchmarking

The first step to save energy in existing buildings is to set a baseline or “benchmark” of current energy consumption. Building energy benchmarking allows a building to be compared to itself over time, to other buildings of the same type, or to an applicable energy standard.

To benchmark an existing building’s energy use, two general pieces of information are required:

1. General Building Characteristics (location, size, population, use and age)

2. Energy Consumption Information (electricity, natural gas/propane and steam usage)

Current Status of Midwest Municipalities

Midwest Successes

MEEA helped many Midwest cities and state governments develop internal data collection, utility energy data acquisition and benchmarking programs for their publicly-owned buildings. State benchmarking initiatives and policies can be found on their respective state policy pages

MEEA also provided technical assistance to the cities of Minneapolis, Chicago and Kansas City to complete and implement their benchmarking ordinances. These initiatives combined both public and privately-owned building data submission and led to the disclosure of annual building energy use to the market. By developing an ordinance, a city obtains the data to track annual energy use of the city as a whole, as well as the ability to measure their greenhouse gas emissions, informing a city’s overall energy reduction goals.

Benchmarking Ordinances and Municipally-Supported Benchmarking Programs in the Midwest:

  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Cook County, IL
  • Evanston, IL
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Madison, WI
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • St. Louis, MO

Why Track Energy Use?

By creating an energy tracking or benchmarking process, building owners and managers are able to better gauge the performance of their buildings. In addition, this data can be used to create more accurate energy budgets, identify underperforming buildings and pinpoint specific energy reduction measures, verify savings completed by energy service companies or within performance contracts and earn recognition in ENERGY STAR®, Green Globes, LEED and/or local challenge programs.

Steps in Developing an Energy Management Process

Who Benefits from Benchmarking a Building’s Energy Use?

By creating an accurate building energy use picture, decision makers are able to precisely target energy improvement projects. Benchmarking can also be used to verify the outcome of any operational or building improvement program/project. This information can better manage building energy use and benefit building owners, facility managers, utilities, tenants and city or state administrators.