What is benchmarking?

Benchmarking is the process of gathering and analyzing information about a building’s energy and water consumption for purposes of identifying opportunities to become more efficient, tracking changes in consumption over time, and making comparisons to similar buildings across the nation.

Why should I benchmark my facilities?

In short, benchmarking allows you to identify opportunities for reducing energy and water consumption (and the associated costs) while allowing you to set goals for improvement.

Benchmarking also assists California building owners comply with Assembly Bill 1103 and Assembly Bill 531, which require non-residential building owners to disclose the energy performance of a building to any prospective buyer, lessee of the entire building, or lender that would finance the entire building. Building owners are required to begin disclosure based on the following schedule:

Building Size Date of Compliance
50,000 sq. ft. July 1, 2013
10,000 sq. ft. January 1, 2014
5,000 sq. ft. July 1, 2014

For more information on AB 1103, AB 531, and their associated regulations, make sure to visit the California Energy Commission’s resource page regularly. There you may find the required disclosure forms, answers to frequently asked questions, and an energy use disclosure guidebook.

How can I benchmark my facilities?

The Environmental Protection Agency offers an easy, interactive tool, known as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, to help building owners track energy and water consumption, generate weather-normalized energy intensity metrics, and, for certain building types, obtain energy performance scores.

How can I get started using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager?

The first step in any benchmarking process is data collection. Use the data collection worksheet to identify and collect data necessary to benchmark your facility. Once you have finished collecting data, print out the quick reference guide and watch the training video to see step-by-step directions for using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.

How can PG&E assist me with benchmarking my facilities?

The ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool requires building owners to enter electric meter data. PG&E’s Automated Benchmarking Service authorizes PG&E to automatically upload future energy usage data directly into the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool while making past energy usage available as well.

To get started using the Automated Benchmarking Service, follow these three easy steps:

  • Collect the Service ID numbers for each meter you wish to sign up
  • If you are not an authorized representative of the building owner, fill out the Data Release Authorization form and fax it to (415) 973-8494
  • Use the How To Guide to see instructions for using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool and authorizing the Automated Benchmarking Service to upload data

In addition to providing the Automated Benchmarking Service, PG&E also offers hands-on benchmarking workshops and an online webinar to assist building owners in benchmarking their facilities.

What do I do once I’ve benchmarked my facilities?

Once you’ve benchmarked your facilities, you can begin analyzing the data to identify opportunities to conserve energy and water. Some of these opportunities may be covered by no- and low-cost programs available through PG&E. Take our short survey to determine which programs you may qualify for. For opportunities not covered by a program, you may wish to explore rebates and financing options to take your project from concept to reality. Remember to consult with a professional before undertaking any work to become more energy efficient.