Building energy benchmarking, or the process of evaluating your energy consumption against industry benchmarks, can save municipalities thousands by identifying which buildings should be optimized. City officials and facility managers can use benchmarking tools to compare what their building would use if it was built to the current energy code, to their peers from around the country, to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and to their previous energy use (weather normalized). Energy benchmarking helps municipalities identify and resolve the most critical inefficiencies first to maximize savings. Over time, officials can benchmark against historical data and determine new or emerging efficiency gaps within their buildings. 

But to use an energy benchmarking tool effectively, officials and facility managers need to identify the most critical key performance indicators from the benchmarking report to optimize performance and generate substantial cost savings. Let’s break down these key performance indicators and what they mean for municipalities. 

Cost PainPoints & Savings

Perhaps the most significant KPI for municipalities and public organizations is economic viability. With a benchmarking tool, officials can easily determine whether a building is underspending or overspending compared to historical data and the engineering benchmark, code-level building. 

To assess the economic health of your building, contextualize the following metrics:

  • Energy costs. Evaluate your energy costs by energy type, and look for monthly trends or significant cost changes. 
  • Potential Savings. Robust benchmarking tools should calculate potential savings for you. Use this metric to easily identify budgetary leaks. B3 Benchmarking allows users to Benchmark by fuel stream and end-use, so you can identify detailed savings opportunities within a building. 

Environmental Impact

Now more than ever, citizens expect their cities to invest in sustainability efforts to improve their communities and livelihoods. Additionally, sustainable, energy-efficient buildings reduce costs in the long term in the form of consumption savings and longevity. 

To evaluate the environmental impact of your buildings, consider:

  • Carbon Emissions. A key metric in determining a building’s environmental impact is carbon emissions. Use the carbon emissions metric within your benchmarking tool to compare your carbon footprint to similar buildings. 
  • EUI. EUI, or energy use intensity, is a measurement of a building’s energy use proportionate to the building’s size, function, etc. EUI is the basis of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. For municipalities, this metric can help officials compare energy efficiency between apples and oranges (a fire station vs. a city hall).  


At the end of the day, the determining factor for energy spending is consumption. Generally speaking, buildings that consume more will cost more. But without the right benchmarking tool, your team may not be able to accurately account for consumption. 

Use the following metrics to gauge your energy consumption levels:

  • Baseline. Most benchmarking tools will have a “baseline” metric so you can easily track increases or decreases in energy consumption. 
  • Benchmark Rating. Willdan’s B3 solution includes a B3 Benchmark Rating, which aggregates performance against B3’s benchmarks. The system benchmarks 98% of public portfolios, allowing for more accurate comparisons. 
  • ENERGY STAR Score. ENERGY STAR Score is a metric from the EIA that measures your building’s energy performance 1-100 against buildings nationwide. A score of 50 is considered benchmark performance. Energy Star Scores give officials a bird’s eye view of their efficiency–and potential–compared to thousands of similar buildings. 

Municipalities cannot afford inefficiency. Energy benchmarking solutions empower officials to quickly identify optimization opportunities to significantly reduce cost savings and improve performance. 

B3 Benchmarking is a cloud-based software application that collects, stores, manages, and analyzes usage data for sites and buildings. B3’s algorithms go beyond statistical benchmarks and scoring to provide more insight into a wider range of buildings. B3 integrates with and expands upon ENERGY STAR(R) Portfolio Manager(R), pairing usage data and basic building information with real-time energy simulations, providing analysis of carbon, energy costs, and energy use intensity (EUI) by month, fuel stream, and major end-use. To learn more about how B3 can accelerate cost savings and transform building efficiency, request a demo with our team.