Overview of Utility Engagement Issues

States and cities must work proactively with utilities to successfully implement effective benchmarking policies,as well as voluntary benchmarking programs such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. Successful benchmarking programs require that utilities provide whole-building energy use data to building owners in a streamlined and straightforward manner. In the absence of utility-provided energy data, complying with benchmarking policies can be arduous and time-consuming for building owners, and may fail to produce concrete benefits.

This paper outlines what an effective whole-building data access program looks like, and how to engage utilities on the key policy issues to create a system that benefits all parties. However, providing access to whole building datais just the beginning of the role that utilities can play in supporting,and benefiting from, benchmarking programs. Once appropriate data access provisions are in place to facilitate benchmarking, both utilities and local jurisdictions can take advantage of the information provided through the benchmarking policy or program to better target buildings and deploy energy efficiency investments. As city and state jurisdictions explore ways whole-building data can be analyzed, used, and applied, these programs are finding more and more opportunities to achieve even greater energy savings.

This report was produced by IMT for the Pacific Coast Collaborative, which sets a cooperative direction in key policy areas of mutual interest among North America’s West Coast jurisdictions including California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.