In the November issue of Multifamily Executive, an article on how the Better Buildings Challenge assists property owners with using data to make energy efficient choices was revealed. In the article, Better Buildings Challenge partners receive assistance with utility benchmarking and utility data analysis, a key benefit of their participation in the program. In turn, they are using this data to improve their properties’ energy management processes and to plan and execute green retrofits and renovations.
However, utility benchmarking can present unforeseen challenges to building owners. Collecting tenant-paid utility data, working with utility providers for consumption data, using ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager, even understanding what the data means – these are just some of the questions that may bewilder and deter property owners who are interested in joining the Better Buildings Challenge. If you find yourself in this position, don’t be intimidated – there’s a host of information available about best practices in utility benchmarking.
To answer property owners’ questions surrounding benchmarking practices, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released an updated utility benchmarking page on the HUD Exchange that includes valuable resources, such as tips on how to collect energy data, data sampling protocols, and upcoming utility benchmarking and Portfolio Manager trainings. And this winter on the HUD Exchange, HUD will publish a Utility Benchmarking Toolkit specifically designed for the needs of multifamily property owners. This toolkit will include information on benchmarking basics, creating a benchmarking plan, using the data, and understanding federal incentives available to particular properties as a result of benchmarking.
Utility benchmarking is a critical component of greening our nation’s multifamily housing stock, and both HUD and the Energy Department's Better Buildings Challenge are here to help our multifamily partners to master this practice.