How confident are you that you’re maximizing your results from energy benchmarking? Organizations of all sizes can benefit from energy benchmarking, which can save you thousands in reduced costs and improved energy efficiency.

By enhancing reporting, tracking, and visibility into building energy performance, benchmarking helps organizations easily identify potential cost savings opportunities. But many organizations miss low-hanging fruit by focusing on the wrong metrics. In this article, we break down why it’s important to optimize energy benchmarking, common mistakes, and how to ensure you’re maximizing your results. 

Comprehensive Energy Benchmarking

It’s critical that you take a comprehensive approach to energy benchmarking and ensure you aren’t missing out on potential savings. By initiating an in-depth review and analysis, you can be confident the organization has:

  • Maximized resources
  • Minimized costs
  • Identified critical maintenance needs
  • Complied with government mandates and regulations

But comprehensive benchmarking can be complicated. Some common roadblocks to an optimized energy benchmarking process include:

  • Prioritization. Without the right tools, it can be difficult to identify what changes should be prioritized, leading to nothing–or the wrong action–being done. 
  • Data Organization & Clarity. Especially for organizations with multiple buildings, organizing your data in a way that paints a clear picture of your savings opportunities can feel impossible. B3 recommends developing a list of KPIs to help weed through the data. 
  • Overwhelming Initiatives. Some of the greatest potential cost savings opportunities may overwhelm teams or be impossible to initiate in the short term. 

Common Energy Benchmarking Mistakes

Perhaps the most common mistake when energy benchmarking is only focusing on the largest buildings. As demonstrated in our resource developed by B3 experts, there is not a high correlation between building size and savings potential. In fact, small buildings often have huge gaps in efficiency because they are not as dutifully managed.  Likewise, small buildings may have more “low-hanging fruit” that your team can implement quickly to improve building efficiency. 

Related to building size, total energy use is not an effective measure for determining potential savings opportunities. More often than not, high-energy use buildings are already optimized and in line with building codes. As displayed below, energy usage is only an indicator of savings potential 36% of the time. If your team is only focusing on this metric, they will miss energy savings opportunities 64% of the time. 

Total Energy Use Versus Savings Potential

Going a step further, many teams will analyze energy use intensity (EUI) to determine the greatest potential savings. Energy Use Intensity is a measurement of energy efficiency within a building. Despite this, an EUI score above a certain threshold can be a misleading indicator of potential savings. For example, our experts found that above 50 kBtu/sf, EUI is not an accurate measure of energy savings potential. Notably, EUI can help filter out buildings below 50, which typically have limited savings potential. 

Total Energy Use Versus Savings Potential

Solely focusing on ENERGY STAR Score is another red herring for energy management teams. ENERGY STAR Score is an EPA-backed measurement of building energy efficiency that illustrates how your buildings compare to “neighbors” and buildings with similar characteristics. While ENERGY STAR Scores are valuable, we found that even buildings within the top 25% of scores among peers can have high savings potential. 

Size Versus Savings Potential

ENERGY STAR Score Versus Savings Potential

Implementing Comprehensive Energy Benchmarking

The best way to ensure you are maximizing the results of your benchmarking is to use benchmarking software. Robust benchmarking software empowers your team to holistically review data, easily identify and prioritize key performance initiatives, and benchmark performance against peers. 

B3 Benchmarking software ensures comprehensive benchmarking through:

  • User-friendly reporting and tracking of KPIs
  • Potential savings broken down by fuel source
  • Comparisons between a wider range of buildings
  • Seamless identification and prioritization of buildings with greatest savings potential
  • Integration with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

To learn more about how B3 can help you maximize the results of your energy benchmarking, request a demo with our team.