A free, secure, and user friendly online tool for benchmarking energy and water use is available to the public called ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. By inputting data into Portfolio Manager, a building owner or manager can view performance trends over time and receive an ENERGY STAR score that compares one building’s energy performance against similarly situated buildings. Building owners can use Portfolio Manager to benchmark the performance of one building or an entire portfolio of buildings, and it can be used to benchmark any type of building.
What is an ENERGY STAR Score?
A building’s ENERGY STAR score is a metric on a 1-100 scale that demonstrates how efficient a building is compared to similar buildings. A score of 50 indicates average energy performance. Buildings with a score of 75 or better are in the top 25% of performers and can apply for the ENERGY STAR certification. Getting an ENERGY STAR certification or award gives the building owner recognition for its energy and water efficiency, providing positive publicity and a competitive edge in the marketplace.
All property types can be benchmarked. Some building types are currently not eligible to receive an ENERGY STAR score, but can still benefit from benchmarking, as Portfolio Manager calculates other energy performance metrics such as weather-normalized energy-use intensity. See the list of property types that are eligible to receive a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score.
Building owners and managers can also use Portfolio Manager to share the performance of their building with others such a consultants or peer groups.
What data is needed to use Portfolio Manager?
The information needed to use Portfolio Manager includes energy use data and operational use details (i.e. your energy bills and some basic information about your building – property address, size, space use attributes, etc.). Download the Data Collection Worksheet to make sure you have all of the necessary information on hand.
Portfolio Manager also allows building owners and managers to track utility bills in the system to demonstrate cost savings over time. Most of this information is found on utility bills. There are more than 100 different metrics available using Portfolio Manager, which can be used to compare a building’s performance against yearly baselines, national averages, and similar buildings.
How do I get started?
- Get started with the benchmarking starter kit
- Identify your property type
- Enter data into Portfolio Manager
- Verify your information with the Data Quality Checker
- Understand how Portfolio Manager calculates metrics
- Interpret your results
- Verify and document your savings
- Share and request data
How to benchmark using Portfolio Manager
Step 1: Add a Property
Step 2: Enter Energy and Water Data
Step 3: View Results and Progress
Once the necessary data has been collected, it only takes a few minutes a month to maintain your account.
Download the Portfolio Manager quick start guide for step-by-step instructions to the basic steps of using Portfolio Manager. You can also watch this video, which provides a step-by-step guide to using Portfolio
How long will it take to benchmark a building?
The time required to benchmark a building is dependent on a number of factors such as: access to utility bills, the number of different spaces in the building, access to building use information (e.g., operating hours, number of tenants) and access to building plans to assign square footage to usage types (e.g. retail, office or parking). Setting up an account in Portfolio Manager takes just a few minutes, similar to setting up an email account. Once all of the data is collected, including 12 months of energy data for the building, staff can enter the information into the account. After the data has been gathered and entered, it can take as little as only takes a few minutes per month to keep your information up to date.
How much does it cost to benchmark a building?
ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free online service available to building owners through the US EPA. Soft costs to building owners will include the time needed to collect energy and space use data and to set up a building account. An outside consultant can be contracted to perform the process of collecting the data, setting up the account and entering the data. Consultant costs for this can range from approximately $500-$2,000.
If you choose to certify your facility, note that certification is given on an annual basis, so a building must maintain its high performance to be certified year to year. The information submitted in the certification application must be verified by a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) or Registered Architect (RA) to be eligible for approval. Typically, hiring a PE or RA to verify your application for ENERGY STAR certification costs approximately ½ to 1 cent per square foot. View these tips for low-cost verifications.
Need more information?
- Visit the training section for Portfolio Manager how-to guides, short videos, and live and recorded training sessions.
- View the Houston City Energy Project FAQs
- View the Portfolio Manager FAQs