By Steve Rizer
Could the number of benchmarked buildings skyrocket across the United States in the not-too-distant future? With a plethora of new evidence suggesting that major energy, environmental, and monetary benefits are obtainable through the relatively new practice, perhaps.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled what is believed to be the largest U.S. building energy benchmarking data analysis to date, having examined more than 35,000 buildings that from 2008 through 2011 consistently used the Energy Star Portfolio Manager measurement tool. These buildings achieved an average savings in energy of about 7 percent over the study period, with the initial lowest-performing buildings making the greatest improvements.
If all buildings in the U.S. followed a similar trend, more than 18 million metric tons of carbon dioxide could be saved each year, according to the nonprofit Institute for Market Transformation (IMT). “That much carbon dioxide saved would equate to $4.2 billion in energy savings just in the first year…. EPA estimates that through 2020, the total savings in building energy use could be approximately 25 percent on a per-building basis if the trend continues.”
The findings may appeal to local and state jurisdictions that are searching for ways to effect reductions in energy use, help companies save money, and safeguard the environment. At least five U.S. cities require energy benchmarking to some extent. Many additional cities and states are considering such measures. A list of such laws appears at the following BuildingRating.org webpage: http://www.buildingrating.org/content/us-policy-briefs.