Benchmarking Your Small Building: What You Need to Know


First thing’s first: what exactly is benchmarking? Benchmarking entails measuring performance and comparing that performance to peers.  In this specific instance, what we are measuring and comparing is energy and water consumption data. Benchmarking offers an established framework to:

  • Strategically assess the current performance of your buildings versus comparable buildings.
  • Identify trends by comparing current and past performance.
  • Discover areas of waste.
  • Unlock potential savings.

In sum, benchmarking provides building owners with a process to understand – and improve – their buildings.

Why do I have to benchmark?

The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan set goals for the city to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by enacting a series of laws. Among them was Local Law 84 which stated that buildings 50,000 square feet and above needed to submit energy and water benchmarking data to the city each year. The law was later expanded with the addition of Local Law 133 to include buildings 25,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet.

Where do I start?

If your building is between 25,000 and 50,000 square feet, 2017 utility data needs to be collected and submitted to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager by February 1.  This means 12 months of data for the whole building!

New York utilities like ConEd, National Grid, and PSEG Long Island have made it easier for owners by providing aggregate whole building data.

Most building owners prefer to use a service provider or software to collect, analyze, and submit the data on their behalf, while some will tackle it on their own.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure that you are getting the most out of compliance. Rather than only submitting data, you can use benchmarking as a strategic tool to unlock areas of opportunity for energy and water efficiency improvements and savings for your portfolio.

There are several options to get help. Some simply collect and push data into Portfolio Manager. Others will help you analyze the data and provide clear action steps. One of the latter solutions is Bright Power’s EnergyScoreCards platform. EnergyScoreCards comes with a dedicated Energy Analyst who helps you interpret the data and identify where the best opportunities for high impact projects with a strong return on investment exist. Once those improvement projects are completed, you and your analyst can measure their savings. And, your analyst takes care of submitting your benchmarking data for you, making it easy to comply.

The Deadline Is Coming Up – Fast!

Buildings 25,000 sq ft to 50,000 square feet need to submit their energy benchmarking data by February 1* to be in compliance and avoid a penalty of $500. Penalties can add up to $2,000 per year ($500 per quarter) for a non-compliant building!

If you haven’t started to compile your energy and water use data – start today! And while you’re marking February 1 on your calendar, go ahead and put in a reminder to submit your buildings’ 2018 energy and water consumption data. The deadline to submit 2018 data will be May 1, 2019.

Still have questions or are unsure where to begin? Contact us today to learn what Bright Power can do for you.




*UPDATE – January 30, 2019: The city recently extended the deadline to February 15, 2019 for buildings 25,000 to 50,000 sq ft.