You can think about your energy benchmarking journey in simple terms:
Obtain senior management support and establish goals. This is a crucial first step. Your organization's decision-makers need to understand the value of building energy benchmarking. To communicate this value, you will need to understand what motivates your organization. Once the leadership of your organization recognizes that energy management is part of its core business, they will move the energy efficiency conversation throughout the organization which will make your role as energy manager that much easier.
For more information on how to sell the value of building energy benchmarking and how to overcome some of the most common perceived barriers to energy benchmarking, visit Benefits of energy benchmarking and Barriers to energy benchmarking.
Establish a Team. One person cannot do it all. If you are part of a large organization, forming an energy team or an energy management task force may be the next step on the road to success. Energy teams should be made up of representatives from your organization's various business units, operational areas, and/or regions. Establishing a team will help you get organized much more efficiently and effectively.
Collect your building data. To streamline the initial setup in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, we recommend that you have all relevant data on your building or portfolio of buildings readily available. You may want to delegate an individual to be responsible for collecting your organization's building and energy data.
In general,you will need the following data for each building:
- building name and street address including postal code
- gross floor area
- hours of operation
- percent of gross floor area that is air conditioned
- percent of gross floor area that is heated
- energy billing data for all purchased energy for one full year, if possible*
* Most Portfolio Manager metrics (including the 1-100 ENERGY STAR score, if applicable) are based on a full year of data, so although you don’t need to have 12 full months of data to start benchmarking, the sooner you have this data, the sooner Portfolio Manager will be able to provide you with useful metrics that you can use to make smart energy-related decisions.
If your building type is eligible for a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score, you may need to enter additional details about your building in order to receive your score. See ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for specific building types to find out what information is required for your building type.
Set up your account. Once you’ve collected your data, you’re ready to start benchmarking. Visit our ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Access Page for a link to the tool, where you can log in or set up an account, and enter the information you’ve collected. See Getting started with Portfolio Manager for tips on how to get up and running quickly and easily.
Enter your energy data. Once your account and buildings are set up, you will need to enter energy use and costs for each billing period for each fuel type in each building. There are three ways to enter this data:
- Manually – This option is best for small portfolios, and provides for the greatest amount of control, as you (or someone you assign to the task) will enter each piece of information individually. If you choose this option, make sure you take a few minutes to add new energy data at least quarterly.
- Via spreadsheet upload – Portfolio Manager offers several Excel templates that you can download, fill in and upload to the tool to speed up the data entry process. This option can be used for portfolios of any size, but it is particularly helpful if you have a lot of buildings or data to enter. Make sure you check your data carefully before you upload, and always start by downloading the latest version of the template to prevent upload errors.
- Automatically, via data exchange – Portfolio Manager offers a suite of web services designed to enable organizations like utility providers to create their own tools to automatically upload and retrieve information to and from Portfolio Manager. A number of Canadian utilities and service providers are working to offer automatic data exchange services to their customers. Contact your local utility to find out if they plan to offer such services. See Automatic data exchange for more information.
Read How to Get Utility Data into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager [PDF – 734 KB] to learn more about all three data entry methods.
View data and interpret results by analyzing performance metrics. Portfolio Manager can track your progress over time and demonstrate reductions in energy use and costs for an individual building or an entire portfolio. For more in-depth analysis, you can generate detailed reports on some or all of your properties. Choose from a selection of standard report templates or create your own personalized template to include exactly the information you want to see. Read ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Standard Report Templates [PDF – 325 KB] or Guide to Custom Reporting in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager [PDF – 875 KB] to learn more.
Establish an energy management plan based on your findings. Armed with the data from your energy benchmarking routine, you will be able to make informed decisions about your energy use and costs and make the case for taking action. Benchmarking, as part of your organization's energy management best practices, will help to foster a culture of continuous improvement in your organization.
Enact your plan. Depending on the priorities identified in your plan, this could involve retrofits, training, behaviour modification, etc. See Next steps for more ideas.
Reap the benefits while maintaining your energy benchmarking momentum. While you are enjoying the advantages of your energy benchmarking efforts, keep in mind that to be successful, you need to make a long-term commitment to ongoing benchmarking. Make energy benchmarking part of your organization's larger energy management strategy, and the benefits will keep coming.
Celebrate your achievements Celebrating your organization's energy-saving successes and rewarding those who work diligently to contribute to your accomplishments is a key element of your energy efficiency journey. Although this element is often overlooked, it can help to build momentum within your organization, reinforce the importance of energy efficiency, and strengthen employee and tenant engagement.
We would like to hear about how you reduced your facility's energy consumption as a result of benchmarking your energy data. To share your stories, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.