Benchmarking; a strategy to reduce GHG from existing buildings
Updated on February 12th, 2021
A recently released National Energy Benchmarking Framework Report by CaGBC states that “Residential, commercial and institutional buildings consume over 30 per cent of total energy in Canada. In Canada’s major cities, buildings are the primary source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with over 50 per cent attributed to heating, cooling and lighting. Energy benchmarking, reporting and transparency are recognized as a fundamental strategy supporting GHG emissions reductions from existing buildings.” The full report here: National Energy Benchmarking Framework: Report on Preliminary Working Group Findings. It is estimated that 50% of today’s building stock will be in use in 2050. Energy savings of 20 – 40% are available, it is expected, within this stock.
“Why is Benchmarking Important? Benchmarking provides building owners with information about their building’s performance over time, compared to its own past performance and to similar buildings. Buildings can be designed and operated more efficiently; however, we lack information about which buildings are performing badly and why. With benchmarking data, owners can make informed decisions about how to manage and operate their buildings, and where it would be beneficial from a cost and energy savings standpoint to strategically invest and implement improvements to the buildings.”
Benchmarking provides a context for actionBenchmarking is part of the formula for the successful management of building utility consumption. The formula starts with metering to identify potential energy efficiencies through data collection, then benchmarking that will lead to actionable insights. Benchmarking a building’s energy consumption can be done in several ways: against past energy performance; against similar buildings within a portfolio; against an external data set of comparable buildings and against areas in the same building. Key steps to energy management that allows building owners, managers, and operators to manage utility usage more efficiently and sustainably, leading to conservation and cost savings:
- measurement and verification of utility usage
- benchmark to assess building performance
- plan improvements