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OFFICE SPACE 2017 PUBLISHED BY BUSINESS IN VANCOUVER

ENERGY BENCHMARKING: CORNERSTONE OF STRATEGIC ENERGY MANAGEMENT Collecting the right information consistently is critical to formulating an effective energy management plan for any office building DANIEL KLEMKY |

T BOMA BC prefers benchmarking tools that have mandatory verification requirements

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he practice of benchmarking the energy use intensity of a building or portfolio of buildings is relatively simple, but the information collected is critical to develop an effective strategic energy management plan or to certify under a holistic building sustainability program (e.g., energy, water, waste, occupant engagement). Regular benchmarking provides a comparison of a building’s current performance to its own past performance and the performance of compa rable bu i ld i ngs. T h is information allows the building management team (i.e., owners, managers and operators) to be better informed on how well their real estate portfolio is operating and where to focus efforts to reduce consumption. When the building management team implements energy conservation initiatives they can be more confident that the project will result in lower operating costs, increased marketability of rentable space, higher rental rates, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and higher overall asset value of the property. The Building Owners and Managers Association of BC (BOMA BC) supports the concept of benchmarking the energy use intensity of buildings. However, BOMA BC’s preferred tools for benchmarking are building environmental certification programs (e.g., BOMA BEST 3.0) and advanced energy management information system (EMIS) software (e.g., BOMA uTrack) that have mandatory third-party verification requirements or data quality

assurance processes. These types of tools provide energy benchmarking and are often integrated with Energy Star Portfolio Manager (PM), but they go beyond benchmarking and have been proven to help improve the energy efficiency and environmental responsibility of buildings. As buildings certify under sustainability programs or use advanced EMIS tools they are engaging in a form of continuous optimization. EMIS data is often done in real time or on a billing cycle which provides a continuous update on performance that the building team can use to track progress or identify issues. Certification programs typically run on a three- to five-year re-certification cycle, meaning that the building team will be required to reassess their buildings at a granular level, giving them the opportunity to identify ways to further optimize their building’s performance. Benchmarking information can also be used by governing bodies to develop policies and regulation that targets energy conservation more effectively. Many U.S. cities and states as well as Ontario have already implemented mandatory building energy benchmarking and reporting requirements. However, an issue with data reliability has been identified in a number of these U.S. cities, which has negatively impacted the ability of governing bodies to use reported benchmarking information reliably. Therefore, it is imperative that benchmarking data is accurate so it can be used with confidence in regulatory or policy development, which is one of the reasons why BOMA BC prefers

benchmarking tools that have mandatory verification requirements. There is a trend throughout the U.S. and Europe for the public disclosure of building energy benchmark information, also known as “building labelling.” However, because of privacy laws, data access limitations and other unforeseen consequences, BOMA BC does not support building labelling. BOMA BC does support the disclosure of building energy use information with the following caveats: ■The information is disclosed in aggregate form by governing bodies and no individual owner or organization is identified (e.g., information is used to inform the development of targeted energy efficiency policies or incentives). ■The information is disclosed in such a way that an individual owner or organization will benefit from the disclosure (e.g., owners are celebrated or rewarded for energy efficiency efforts). ■The information is not used in a way that will create an unfair business environment for an individual owner or organization (e.g., unfairly labelled as a poor-performing building). Until such time that public disclosure or building labelling actually increases the energy performance of buildings, BOMA BC recommends that efforts by governing bodies be focused on helping buildings improve their energy efficiency through appropriate policies and incentives that have been proven to help transform the built environment to become more efficient (e.g., direct energy management

2017-05-03 10:29 AM

Office Space 2017  
Office Space 2017