22A — April 27 - May 10, 2012 — Spring Preview — Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal
E nergy /B enchmarking By Pete Arnoldt, RCx Building Diagnostics Building Benchmarking: Low Cost, High Value
penny saved is a penny earned.”- BenjaminFranklin.
number of building owners and managers who are in- creasing their earnings by decreasing their consumption continues to grow.Another old adage goes: “you can’t mea- sure what you don’t monitor and you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” This is a conundrum that many fa- cilities staff are dealing with nowadays. Just how much savings are being realized as a result of investments into building upgrades? How much energy consumption has been avoided because of facility improvements made
in the name of efficiency? Or, if you think your building’s performing efficiently, com- pared to what? How are other facilities your size, function, occupancy, and location op- erating? A building bench- mark is a great, low cost tool that will give you a baseline for how your facility is cur- rently consuming so that the answers to these questions, and many others, can be de- termined. A building benchmark is an integral first step for an organization to develop a suc- cessful energy management
program, which ensures the effective and efficient use of energy to maximize profits and minimize costs (revisit- ing the whole “penny saved… earned” concept). And, con- sidering that office buildings in the United States spend in upwards of $2.00/ft² on energy and that it is esti- mated that up to 30% of that energy-consumed is wasted (EPA), the development of an energy management pro- gram is crucial. Without the foundation of the baseline, or benchmark, it is not possible to establish goals that are
SMART (Specific, Measur- able, Attainable, Realistic, and with a Time-table). If you collect and analyze building data the same way that you collect and analyze business data, you canmake more fully informed decisions. With the results from a benchmark, you are then able to change the perception of the utility costs for your building from a variable overhead cost to a manageable operating cost as you create and implement an action plan designed to achieve the goals established after benchmarking your building’s performance. A benchmark can provide the verification necessary to justify upgrades, too. Bench- marking a building’s his- torical energy usage creates a simple measurement tool that quickly assesses how well your building is cur- rently performing relative to other, similar buildings. It is the process of comparing your building’s energy use to a database of buildings, while accounting for differences in size, location, use, weather differences, and other vari- ables. Once you understand how a building is performing relative to other buildings, you gain a sense of the level of op- portunity for energy reduction that exists for your building. Oftentimes energy audits or retrocommissioning services are additional tools that will take you from benchmarking through setting goals, creat- ing an action plan and imple- menting changes accordingly, to the point of evaluating the progress resulting from the actions taken. Armed with the results from the benchmark, operational staff can ratio- nalize such efficiency invest- ments to upper management for approval. The increased value that comes with operating an ef- ficient building is recognized by many, including your ten- ants and the government. A number of cities, such as New York and Washington DC, now require benchmarking and issue fines for non-com- pliance. So, the question now becomes, whether you are in an area issuing fines for non-compliance or not: Can you afford NOT to have your building benchmarked? Pete Arnoldt is a sales consultant for RCx Build- ing Diagnostics. n
Regardless of the status of the econo- my, whether flush or bust, this declara- tion holds as true today as it did in the
18th Century when our fore- father originally uttered it. In our 21st Century full of “smart” and “green” or high performance buildings, the
Sometimes Replacing The Light Bulbs Just Is Not Enough.
Lighting accounts for less than 20% of the energy used in commercial office building. Have you looked where else you could reduce your energy consumption? Get the tools, knowledge, and expertise to improve your existing building from RCx Building Diagnostics. Our dedicated staff will provide you with the solutions you need to increase the efficiency of your building and increase its overall value. Call 1-866-382-8628 or visit RCx online at rcxbd.com to start cashing in on your building’s potential.
Sustainability Analysis • Retrocommissioning Benchmarking • Energy Auditing
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