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EPA Analysis Shows Big Benchmarking Savings

Published: Oct 11, 2012 Policy | Press Release

New analysis confirmed 35,000 buildings using the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager between 2008 and 2011 saved an average of 7% in energy.

 

Washington, DC–October 11, 2012–Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the largest U.S. building energy benchmarking data analysis to date, examining over 35,000 buildings that from 2008-2011 consistently used the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager measurement tool.

The buildings showed a 7 percent average savings in energy over three years–with the initial lowest-performing buildings making the greatest improvements. See http://www.energystar.gov/ia/business/downloads/datatrends/DataTrends_Savings_20121002.pdf?3d9b-91a5 for the full analysis.

The data revealed that if all buildings in the U.S. followed a similar trend, more than 18 million metric tons of carbon dioxide could be saved each year. That much carbon dioxide saved would equate to $4.2 billion in energy savings just in the first year, according to IMT’s calculations. EPA estimates that through 2020, the total savings in building energy use could be approximately 25 percent on a per-building basis if the trend continues.

"Improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings is critical to protecting our environment," said Jean Lupinacci, Chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Branch. "No matter the building type, organizations across the country are using EPA's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to demonstrate that you can't manage what you don't measure."

The vast majority of buildings realized energy savings every year and the energy savings were experienced by all building types. Buildings that started with below-average ENERGY STAR scores and higher energy use saved twice as much energy as those buildings that started with above-average scores.

Among the building categories that achieved above-average savings were retail, office, and K-12 schools. The research found that the average school district, with buildings totaling 800,000 square feet, would see annual savings of 2.4 percent for three consecutive years, yielding the salary of 1.2 full-time teachers each year.

"These findings show the power of information," said Cliff Majersik, Executive Director of IMT. "ENERGY STAR benchmarking is a powerful tool to guide and motivate building improvements to cut waste and save big money. In fact, a recent survey showed that more than 60 percent of building operators who benchmark use benchmarking to decide where to invest their resources and to make the business case for those investments."

The data was self-reported and was filtered to exclude outliers, incomplete records, and test facilities. To learn more, visit: www.energystar.gov/DataTrends.

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ABOUT IMT: The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting energy efficiency, green building, and environmental protection in the United States and abroad. Much of IMT’s work addresses market failures that inhibit investment in energy efficiency. For more information, visit imt.org.