Why is Benchmarking important?

Buildings account for the majority of energy used in U.S. cities. On average, buildings waste 30 percent of the energy they consume due to inefficient energy expenditure. In Houston, large buildings represent roughly 50 percent of the citywide square footage. This means that there is a massive opportunity for significant energy savings in Houston.

Efficient buildings mean substantial financial savings for the building owners and healthier and more comfortable spaces for work, play and life, which attract more investments and residents to the city. This in turn helps boost the local economy and encourages growth of investments and jobs, making Houston more competitive in the marketplace. Efficient buildings also help reduce harmful pollution, which also makes the city more attractive and healthy overall. View the business case for energy efficiency and learn how you can make the business case for your facility.

Value of benchmarkingEvidence of the energy savings produced by benchmarking is already available. From 2008-2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) analyzed data from over 35,000 buildings that used Portfolio Manager and received an ENERGY STAR® score. The results showed that during that time, energy use declined by an average of 7 percent.

What are some benefits of Benchmarking?

Through the energy savings that benchmarking produces, there is an enormous potential to:

Save money. By identifying where their buildings are wasting the greatest amount of energy and then making the appropriate improvements, building owners will cut significant amounts of energy use with very short payback periods. This reduces energy costs and produces substantial net financial savings.

Key Steps and Benefits of Benchmarking

Attract new investments and residents. Efficient buildings are not only more cost-effective, but also provide healthier and more comfortable spaces to live, play, and work—qualities that attract top talent and investment. A more efficient building can lead to increased occupant comfort and productivity as well as reduced environmental impacts and operating expenses.

Create jobs. Through the financial savings that building owners accrue, they can afford to hire additional workers, or the extra savings can be pumped back into the economy. Additionally, benchmarking creates green jobs for engineers, auditors, and contractors who are needed to assess the energy use of buildings, conduct audits and retro commissioning, and give benchmarking certifications and scores.

What are some of the key metrics Portfolio Manager provides?

ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager is a free and easy-to-use benchmarking tool that can compare a single building’s performance with other similarly operating buildings, and calculate a 1-100 score to inform building owners and managers about their building’s performance relative to others in the marketplace.

  • Energy consumption (source, site, weather normalized)EnergyStar.gov
  • Water consumption (indoor, outdoor)
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (indirect, direct, total, avoided)
  • ENERGY STAR 1-to-100 score (available for over 20 building types)

Need a few more reasons why you should benchmark your building?

Compared with their peers, an ENERGY STAR certified office building, on average:

  • Uses 35% less energy
  • Generates 35% fewer greenhouse gas emissions
  • Costs $0.54 less per square foot to operate
  • Has higher rental and occupancy rates

Learn more about the benefits of earning ENERGY STAR certification at: “Ten reasons to pursue ENERGY STAR certification”.

Additional benefits of benchmarking:

  • Proactive approach to managing energy use
  • Continuous improvement as a part of a strategic energy management plan
  • Identify billing errors
  • Verify pre- and post-project energy use, GHG emissions, and energy costs
  • Communicate results in meaningful terms
  • Assess effectiveness of current operations, policies and practices
  • Assist in planning: set goals, targets, and timelines
  • Participation in energy challenges or benchmarking programs

The infographic below details the benefits of building energy benchmarking at a glance (click on the graphic to view a larger version).


A recent study found that energy performance benchmarking prompted energy efficiency investment in over 60% of participants through improved energy management processes, building upgrades, and behavioral efficiency

Benchmarking is also low-cost way to identify facilities that are good candidates for energy audits and upgrades.