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Mainstream building benchmarking

For building operators to begin implementing improvements, they need to collect their energy and water consumption information and then compare it against an agreed-upon standard. History has taught us that turning a blind eye to wasteful practices isn’t going to make them go away.

USGBC is advocating for policies at the state and local levels that would require benchmarking performance data in commercial buildings. The Mainstream Building Benchmarking Campaign provides the context to allow advocates to bring building benchmarking practices to commercial buildings across America.

Broad industry consensus supports use of the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager for benchmarking, and we agree. Free to use, Portfolio Manager compiles building stats and energy consumption data to produce an energy-consumption-per-square-foot score. This tool is effective, and it is the heart of the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system.

Energy performance is not the only component of green building to benefit from benchmarking. Understanding water consumption, material and resource use, indoor environmental quality and transportation energy use in a building can illuminate many opportunities for improvement.