The Benchmarking Process
Benchmarking is a critical first step in determining how best to reduce unnecessary energy use in buildings. Buildings are responsible for nearly 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the City of St. Louis. What’s more, a relatively small number of large buildings represent most of these emissions and the associated energy use. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 30 percent of the energy in buildings is used inefficiently or unnecessarily.[i]
Benchmarking means measuring a building’s energy use and comparing it to that of similar buildings. Making this information publicly available will allow owners and occupants to understand how their building’s energy performance compares to that of their peers, as well as identify the extent of the opportunity available for improvement.
A building owner, manager, or his/her staff can benchmark using free software, incurring no cost other than the individual’s time. The EPA provides the free online tool, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, as well as a number of free benchmarking training tools. This tool has already been used to benchmark more than 450,000 buildings, nationwide, including about half of the commercial floor space in the country.
The City of St. Louis and its partners plan to provide in-person trainings, a dedicated benchmarking website for non-municipal building owners, offer a support desk for benchmarking questions and conduct one-on-one follow-up with owners requesting assistance.
U.S EPA, ENERGY STAR program. "Useful Facts and Stats." https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/about-us/facts-and-stats