The City of Seattle will send letters to the owners of 8,000 buildings this week informing them of its new building energy-efficiency program. The program aims to help building owners and managers reduce their energy costs through benchmarking. By benchmarking, building owners and facility managers get insight into how their building uses and wastes energy, allowing them to improve efficiency and increase savings.
The City’s Building Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Program is currently underway for nonresidential buildings over 50,000 sq. ft. This next phase will require nonresidential buildings over 10,000 sq. ft. and multifamily buildings with five or more units to benchmark and report energy performance by April 1, 2012.
Building owners and facility managers are encouraged to take advantage of educational materials provided by the City to this end, including hands-on training workshops, a “How To” guide, and webinars.
The City has partnered with local utilities to provide owners with the building energy consumption data they need in a convenient format to help facilitate the benchmarking process. Using the free online tool, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, owners can easily see their building’s energy performance and how it stacks up against similar buildings. Having this information at their fingertips is instrumental towards improving building energy performance and reducing energy costs.
“Buildings consume more than 40% of the energy produced in the U.S. but there is a huge opportunity to lower energy costs through better building efficiency”, says Diane Sugimura, Director of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development.
Many building owners and facility managers are already familiar with the benchmarking process and see it as a good business practice that helps lower operating costs and boost bottom lines.
“The more information and knowledge you have about your building’s energy performance, the more power you have to control it, “ says Lynda Carey, Construction and Asset Manager at Bellwether, an affordable housing organization in Seattle. “For us, benchmarking and making energy-efficiency improvements isn’t just about helping the environment, it is also a good business decision. Our mission is to help families afford more than rent, so the more we can do to lower our energy costs and keep housing affordable, the better.”