If you have a large portfolio of buildings, getting started with benchmarking may seem like a daunting task. Read the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Quick Start Guide [PDF – 544 KB], and then check out the following tips to help make your start-up process as smooth as possible.
To get a feel for the system and for how much time is actually required to enroll your buildings, we recommend starting with just one building. Open your account, set up your first building, and enter one year’s worth of energy data. With Portfolio Manager’s intuitive interface and helpful wizards, you might be surprised at how quickly it goes. And, armed with this information, you’ll be better prepared to budget your time and resources to enter the rest of your portfolio.
Use bulk upload
If you have more than a handful of buildings, you can save time by using Portfolio Manager’s powerful spreadsheet upload features. Within minutes, you can have multiple buildings and their meters set up, and then quickly upload all your energy data.
Employ temporary resources
To further reduce the time commitment, temporary resources are available through programs such as the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy. Using a student to help compile, review, and verify building use data, and set up energy and water meters is a real time saver and can be done at minimal cost without taking your team off their other projects. You’ll still need to collect and enter your monthly energy and water consumption data for your properties, but with the profiles set up, you are ready to begin tracking the property’s energy and water performance. This can be a win-win: you benefit by accurately capturing the necessary data, and the student benefits from gaining valuable practical experience. Visit the Youth Employment Strategy website to see if you’re eligible, or talk to a local school to see if you can take part in its co-op program. Natural Resources Canada works with many organizations across the country that have taken this approach with much success. Please contact us for more information.
Encourage your utility to set up automatic data exchange
Portfolio Manager offers a full suite of web services to enable your utility provider to automatically upload data to your account. Through these web services, you can benchmark your buildings with practically no effort at all. Portfolio Manager web services are still new in Canada, but a number of Canadian utilities are working to offer automatic data exchange with the tool. Talk to your utility or energy management provider to find out if they are planning to offer this service or encourage them to do so.
Do what’s right for you
Although it’s helpful to enter energy data going back as far as your records cover, Portfolio Manager is designed to be flexible in what you enter and when. So if you have the resources, consider entering all the data you have for all your buildings. You’ll be able to see metrics right away and have access to valuable trend data. Or you can enter just enough data to see your metrics (including a score, if your building type is eligible). Portfolio Manager requires one full year of data for its metrics calculations, so if you can enter just that much, you’ll be all set. Or, if your resources are really tight, you don’t have to enter past energy data at all. Just get your buildings set up in the tool, and add your energy data as you receive it going forward. This means you’ll have to wait a while to see your metrics, but you’ll be able to get started with very limited resources. And you can go back and add past data at any time if you find you have the resources to do so.
Ask your peers
Many other organizations have found ways to get their data into Portfolio Manager despite limited resources. Why not take advantage of your next networking event to find out more about how they did it?
Don’t wait any longer! Log in to Portfolio Manager and start benchmarking today!