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New: Utilities’ Guide to Data Access

Published: Mar 5, 2013 Policy | Press Release

Utilities Can Help Building Owners Understand Their Energy Use and Comply With Benchmarking Laws Through Easier Data Access Services

PHILADELPHIA and WASHINGTON, DC – March 5, 2013 – As Philadelphia’s new benchmarking law takes effect, all commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet will be required to measure their energy and water use and disclose that data to the public. Building owners’ ability to access their utility data in an electronic format and easily transfer this data into analysis tools is an important factor contributing to the success of efforts to enhance building energy efficiency through benchmarking. A new report published by the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), Utilities’ Guide to Data Access for Building Benchmarking, explains how local utilities can improve this access to facilitate benchmarking.

“Regulators and utilities can work together to provide tools to building owners to help them understand their building energy use and reduce their consumption. The EEB Hub leveraged our expertise in partnership with the Institute for Market Transformation to provide key information on best practices for data access and benchmarking to our region and others with the release of this report,” said EEB Hub Deputy Director Laurie Actman. “We commend PECO for the plan it has filed with the PA PUC to provide automated data transfer service for its customers in order to support building benchmarking throughout the region,” she added.

Nationally, the number of buildings benchmarked has increased by more than a factor of ten in the last decade, but acquiring data for benchmarking is still a challenge for many owners. In separately metered buildings, the building owner often needs to seek authorization or meter data from each tenant to abide by privacy laws and utility confidentiality policies. Additionally, without an automatic service from utilities, owners frequently have to re-enter data by hand, a time burden that raises the possibility of errors.

“The EEB Hub has been a key partner for successful implementation of the City’s energy efficiency programs and goals. By convening regulators and utilities over the last year to inform them of best practices for data access we are now poised to have a much smoother implementation of the City’s new Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure ordinance,” commented Katherine Gajewski, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability for the Nutter Administration.

Last year, the EEB Hub with support from the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission convened a data management working group for local utilities, regulators, building owners and other stakeholders to discuss enhanced data access programs. The new report grew out of those discussions. In addition to recommendations for improving owners’ data access, it also describes the benefits of benchmarking for utilities, as a tool to analyze and drive demand for their energy efficiency programs and to validate energy savings.

Liz Murphy, PECO’s Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs, noted, “we’ve been pleased to work with the City of Philadelphia, the PA PUC, our customers and the EEB HUB to propose our new pilot automated data transfer service in our recent energy efficiency program filing, and we look forward to final approval of the plan by the PUC in order to bring the service on-line in time for the implementation of the City’s new benchmarking requirement.”

“Access to this data is powerful,” said Cliff Majersik, Executive Director of the Institute for Market Transformation, a Washington, DC, nonprofit and EEB Hub partner. Majersik wrote the new report with IMT’s Andrea Krukowski. “Offering access to this consumption data may be the most cost-effective way for utilities to catalyze energy savings, with resulting reliability benefits and cost savings for all ratepayers,” Majersik concluded.

Pennsylvania PUC Chairman Rob Powelson added, “The EEB Hub has provided the PUC and other key stakeholders with critical information to support key policy decisions related to data access for building owners. I commend their leadership and look forward to a continued partnership as we pursue innovative strategies to accelerate the rate of retrofit in Philadelphia and the entire Commonwealth.”

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

ABOUT EEB HUB:
The EEB Hub was established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as an Energy-Regional Innovation Cluster with a unique dual mission of improving energy efficiency in
buildings and promoting regional economic growth and job creation from its headquarters in Philadelphia's Navy Yard. Specifically, the EEB Hub aims to reduce energy consumption in
the Greater Philadelphia commercial building sector by 20 percent by 2020 through informed people, validated information and proven technologies. The EEB Hub includes 27 performer
organizations, led by Penn State, made up of research universities, DOE laboratories, industrial firms, and economic development agencies.
www.eebhub.org

Contact
Laurie Actman, The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub
(215) 218-7586
lactman@engr.psu.edu

Andrea Krukowski, The Institute for Market Transformation
(202) 525-2883 x.308
andrea@imt.org