FEATURE – EPA analysis shows 7% energy savings for benchmarked buildings
October 22, 2012 - Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the largest U.S. building energy benchmarking data analysis to date, examining over 35,000 buildings that from 2008-2011 consistently used the Energy Star Portfolio Manager measurement tool.
By Alyssa Dalton
The buildings showed an average of 7% in energy savings over three years—with the initial lowest-performing buildings making the greatest improvements. IMT (The Institute for Market Transformation) calculated that if all American buildings followed a similar trend, $4.2 billion in energy savings could be realized in just the first year. Moving forward through to 2020, the total savings in building energy use could be approximately 25% on a per-building basis.
“Improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings is critical to protecting our environment,” said Jean Lupinacci, chief of the Energy Star Commercial & Industrial Branch. “No matter the building type, organizations across the country are using EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager to demonstrate that you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
The report also found that buildings which started with below-average Energy Star scores and higher energy use saved twice as much energy as those buildings that started with above-average scores.
Among the building categories that achieved above-average savings were retail, office, and K-12 schools. The research found that the average school district, with buildings totaling 800,000 sf., would see annual savings of 2.4% for three consecutive years, yielding the salary of 1.2 full-time teachers each year.
“These findings show the power of information,” said Cliff Majersik, executive director of IMT. “Energy Star benchmarking is a powerful tool to guide and motivate building improvements to cut waste and save big money. In fact, a recent survey showed that more than 60% of building operators who benchmark use benchmarking to decide where to invest their resources and to make the business case for those investments.”