May 3, 2016
As the adoption of new energy efficiency requirements and practices continues to increase, hotel owners and managers face a growing list of obligations and potential solutions… but little data to help them make the right decisions. Energy benchmarking bridges this gap by providing the necessary information to affect change, drive energy savings, and improve building efficiency.
Energy Benchmarking: What Is It?
Energy benchmarking is the process of documenting how much energy a building uses and where that energy goes. It typically results in a report on the building's energy expenditure and greenhouse gas emissions for a certain time period. Recording this information gives hotel managers a sense of how their building is performing over time and against peer buildings as a basis to make decisions about the building.
The goal of energy benchmarking is twofold: First to reduce building energy use (and thus save money), and second to protect our environment. To accomplish this, benchmarking identifies energy-saving opportunities to help buildings operate at peak efficiency. Not all hotel buildings, especially older buildings, were designed with energy efficiency in mind, and it's not something that many owners consider. Or if the building has been repurposed, its new energy needs may be very different from those it was built for. Benchmarking, then, is a method of education as well as improvement, and holds benefits for many different parties.
Energy Analysis for Greater Savings
Just who can benefit from energy benchmarking? The groups who stand to gain the most from incorporating energy benchmarking processes are:
Owners and Operators: Building owners and operators stand to save a significant amount of money over time by changing their energy policies and investing in energy efficient equipment based on the information they receive from benchmarking. Well-conducted energy benchmarking includes useful advice, actionable items, and data tailored specifically for these owners. For owners of multiple buildings, benchmarking allows owners to compare each property side by side and prioritize energy efficiency investments in their portfolio.
Cities: Cities are very interested in understanding how their buildings use energy for several reasons. First, knowing how large companies use energy makes it easier to create accurate tax and funding initiatives where they are needed – without any unintentional side effects. Second, energy benchmarking data allows cities to make better decisions about renovation and zoning. Third, studying energy consumption data at this level enables cities to create effective energy efficiency plans for public works. Energy benchmarking also allows cities to create and then meet energy efficiency and climate change reduction goals.
Customers and Tenants: Much of the energy used in hotels is used to keep guests comfortable through heating, cooling, and other processes. Understanding how that energy is used and how it could be used more effectively often leads to more comfortable guests, fewer complaints, and better services that incorporate the latest technology.
The Consumer Market: Transparent energy benchmarking data provides the marketplace with a greater understanding of building efficiency. The logic is similar to MPG, or miles per gallon. MPG is a common term that can be used across many different vehicles to help compare them: Everyone immediately understands what it means in relation to fuel and ideas can easily be communicated. Energy benchmarking is a bit like MPG: It provides standards for how energy is used that hold true across the market and can be used in many different conversations to help explain ideas and reach solutions.
Energy Benchmarking Today
Several states, counties, and cities across the United States are quickly adopting energy benchmarking requirements. Areas like Chicago, where renovation is common and building energy accounts for 70 percent of total energy consumption, have eagerly made this type of benchmarking mandatory. The reasons for the trend are clear. Energy benchmarking, as well as disclosure of related energy data, are key policies that drive change at several levels, ultimately making it easy to invest in energy efficiency, cut costs, and protect our environment.
Let the experts handle your energy benchmarking data for you! Contact us today.