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Benchmarking Your Energy
July 26, 2019

How to Benchmark Your Commercial Energy Use

Commercial entities nationwide have begun to see the light when it comes to practicing energy efficiency and reducing their environmental footprint. However, businesses putting the effort into efficiency may not know how to determine if their goals are being met.

Fortunately, benchmarking is a practice that allows businesses to measure their total power output on a long-term basis. This information can be an excellent way to determine:

  • How much energy is being used per year;
  • Where energy is being wasted;
  • How their facility data looks when compared to industry competition; and
  • How their facility data compares to their own historical comparisons

Putting a benchmarking plan in place is wonderful because companies already practicing energy-efficiency can easily track how their progress measures up to their goals. It can also be a great starting point for a facility that knows they need to reduce their energy demand but has no idea where to start.

Energy Benchmarking Tips for Commercial Locations

Before you even start benchmarking, have a plan in mind that determines your whole purpose for this undertaking. Essential framework steps include:

  • Recruiting a focus team;
  • Cementing your goals;
  • Determining your data collection method;
  • Learning multiple analysis techniques;
  • Relaying the plan to your business’ leadership; and
  • Getting an experienced energy consultant involved.

Establish Your Baseline

Every business is unique, so, your first step will be to establish a baseline of your facility’s electricity and natural gas consumption.

Your energy consultant will help you understand how your business uses power and how that usage varies over time.

Examine Key Indicators

Depending on your industry there are several key benchmark indicators that apply to your baseline. Key starting indicators most facilities benchmark include electrical use, natural gas use, and water use.

Other facility-specific aspects to examine during data collection include:

  • The size of your facility;
  • How your facility space is divided and the total demand for each area;
  • Number of tenants;
  • Areas that are routinely heated and cooled; and
  • At least the last years’ worth of energy bills for the facility.

Note that there are also Energy Performance Indicators that are external, industry-specific benchmarks. These indicators, as well as a data collection worksheet, can be found through available resources provided by ENERGY STAR.

Take Advantage of Benchmarking Tools

There are several benchmarking tools available to help facilities organize and analyze data over time. Options on the market range from standard spreadsheets to customized online tools. Your selection ultimately depends on:

  • Your facility’s set budget for benchmarking efforts;
  • Facility goals;
  • If the program can generate the data you need; and
  • Whether the program can analyze the information you put into it.

There’s a lot to think about when selecting a benchmarking tool, so, discussing and studying the different options available is imperative. A great place to start your search is through your energy consultant team and the Department of Energy’s “Building Energy Software Tools Directory.”

Analyze & Track the Results

Once data is gathered and organized, an analysis of your results will help your facility make the most qualified decisions for planned saving practices. 

There are several ways to analyze your data to determine where your energy demand stands during a specific timeframe, but the decision rests on your facility goals and depth of collected data.

We’ve found that successful benchmarking occurs when data is analyzed from several different angles. Some of our recommended practices include:

  • Analyzing the data against the facility’s historical energy use;
  • Examining current contracts, pricing, and volume commitments;
  • Evaluating the performance of similar buildings in the area or industry; and
  • Comparing the data with the facility’s future load growth plans.

Take Control of Your Energy with Priority Power Management

Benchmarking is a tool that can help your business meet its energy savings goals in 2019 and beyond. With Priority Power Management as your trusted savings consultant, you can finally take control of your energy supply and curb the energy demand that your business currently requires.

Our savings initiatives will help your business overcome the challenges of managing data, delivery infrastructure and more. Contact us today to find out more about our solutions and how Priority Power Management can help you!

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