Ideas you can use: Helping utilities help building owners



The United States Department of Energy has kicked off an Energy Data Accelerator Program that consists of 16 regional partnerships between cities and utilities. Accelerator Partners will collaborate with DOE to demonstrate better approaches to energy benchmarking.


Energy benchmarking is a standardized process for measuring energy efficiency. It helps building owners identify cost-effective upgrades, document the savings, and communicate their accomplishments.


Building owners need easy, automated ways to get utility data into their benchmarking software. The Data Accelerator program has a focus on helping them get aggregated information across multiple tenants. Although some buildings have master meters that make it easy to get aggregate data, others have many meters that feed into a building's total energy use. The program helps to make it easier for such buildings to benchmark their usage.


In Minneapolis, for example, the city and Xcel Energy are working on a web-based tool. Building owners will be able to look up data about their properties. The city recently issued its inaugural building energy benchmarking report, which included only publicly-owned buildings larger than 25,000 square feet.


Starting in 2014, large commercial building owners in Minneapolis will be required to report their properties’ energy use annually. Owners of privately owned buildings over 100,000 square feet must file their first reports by June 1, 2014. Owners of buildings over 50,000 square feet have until June 1, 2015.


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