BenchmarkMyBuilding, a free self-service benchmark for building energy consumption and costs, has been introduced today. Others have created proprietary benchmarks on select data sets, but BenchmarkMyBuilding is the first to leverage the expansive data available through multiple government data sources to enable rapid performance comparisons against similar buildings.
Lucid, a provider of a comprehensive business intelligence platform for building operations, created the BenchmarkMyBuilding tool in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratory, through the DOE Small Business Voucher Program. The tool for the first time enables facility management professionals (among other industry stakeholders) to leverage the billions of data points on commercial building energy use from the DOE and Energy Star. The benchmark calculates the associated annual energy costs, and delivers the findings in an intuitive report that can be shared with collaborators, operators, investors, and occupants.
Unlike oversimplified energy calculators that pull some estimated numbers from a sampling of a vendor’s customer base, BenchmarkMyBuilding integrates data from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star Target Finder and the. U.S. DOE Building Performance Database. The DOE and Energy Star have assembled the largest database of information related to building energy consumption in the world, representing nearly 4.8 million buildings, comprising 68 billion square feet of commercial building space. However, Lucid notes, these databases are geared toward skilled engineers rather than more general business audiences, and do not prioritize cost information.
Lucid weaves these data sets together to provide both cost and consumption benchmarks, with insights into how much improvement is possible. Traditionally, the process to calculate such insights could take weeks for teams to undertake, and would require specialized industry expertise. BenchmarkMyBuilding aims to remove those barriers, making comparisons and instant visibility over the energy efficiency potential of buildings available to anyone.
From three simple inputs (building type, building size, and building location) users can immediately view key performance indicators such as energy cost, energy consumption, energy use intensity, and comparative performance in intuitive and readily shareable visuals. With additional inputs, users can get a customized energy use report that compares specific buildings with peer buildings and calculates the potential value of improved performance.
Offering a user perspective, Dana Jennings, global sustainability project manager at LinkedIn, says, “Prior to having BenchmarkMyBuilding, it was challenging to come up with a consistent benchmark for all of our buildings. We had both EnergyStar and DOE sources and weren’t sure about how to intertwine them. This will be great for people trying to get started during the initial stages of benchmarking.”
Jessica Granderson, deputy for Research Programs, Building Technology and Urban Systems Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), said, “This benchmarking solution allows energy managers, building owners, and operators to access clear comparisons of their buildings’ energy cost and performance compared to similar buildings using the vast DOE datasets. Armed with this information, energy and sustainability managers can quickly communicate with other stakeholders about energy expenditures, so they can take steps to make buildings more sustainable, more cost-effective for owners and more attractive to investors and tenants.”