Blog

Benchmark My Building FAQ

March 15, 2017

By Josh Wentz

Benchmark My Building FAQ

Find answers to the most common questions we've received below. Don't see your question? Reach out to info@lucidconnects.com.

What is Benchmark My Building?

The industry’s first free, self-service tool for benchmarking real-time building energy costs against similar buildings using the vast U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and EnergyStar™ data set. Benchmark My Building generates an energy cost and consumption ranking for any building that compares it to the performance of similar buildings in similar climates. With this score energy managers can establish a baseline for conservation and cost reduction, and track improvements over time.

Benchmark My Building was created in partnership between Lucid and the DOE, and is a free online tool that gives facilities managers the ability to quickly and accurately understand how their building is performing against similar buildings. Learn more about the launch & collaboration.

What are the building databases / data sources used to generate the results?

BenchmarkMyBuilding leverages both ENERGY STAR and DOE databases to quickly benchmark your annual energy cost and consumption against a dataset representative of 4.8 million buildings comprising 68 billion square feet. Specific datasets and APIs include:

  1. ENERGY STAR Target Finder. Target Finder is a quicker way of accessing the same scoring algorithms available in Portfolio Manager, both of which are based on the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS).
  2. DOE Building Performance Database (BPD)

How many buildings are represented in the benchmarking results?

1. ENERGY STAR Target Finder

  • ENERGY STAR has a statistical model which accesses CBECS via scaling extrapolations and algorithms scientifically tuned over decades of time from roughly 5 million square feet of sampled data.
  • Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS)
    • CBECS, which began in 1979, is conducted about every 4 years by the DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) [reference]
    • CBECS is representative of all buildings in the United States and is the only statistically significant sample of building energy data in the world. [reference]
    • 2012 CBECS total U.S. building stock [reference]
      • 5.6 million commercial buildings
      • 87 billion commercial square feet
  • As of 2017, ENERGY STAR is using 2003 CBECS data [reference]; therefore, 2003 CBECS statistics are more accurate with respect to the representative dataset behind BenchmarkMyBuilding.
  • As of 2018, ENERGY STAR plans to incorporate 2012 CBECS data into scores and algorithms [reference]. BenchmarkMyBuilding will automatically inherit these updated scores and metrics after being released by ENERGY STAR.

2. DOE Building Performance Database (BPD)

  • As of March 2017, BPD includes:
    • 230,000 commercial buildings
    • 22 billion square feet (This square footage is high since the primary source data of BPD includes city ordinances which require buildings to be 50,000 square feet and above.)
  • These numbers will grow each year as more buildings in more cities with local benchmarking ordinances submit their energy data to ENERGY STAR and the DOE.

What do I need to enter?

There is a basic and advanced series of 3 and 2 entry fields, respectively.

Basic - 3 simple inputs: building address, building type, and building size.
Basic - 3 simple inputs: building address, building type, and building size.

The basic entries match your building to a profile type in the database so we can compare it to similar buildings. Median and comparison annual energy cost and consumption is graphed for easy comparison.

Advanced - 2 additional inputs: annual building energy cost and consumption.
Advanced - 2 additional inputs: annual building energy cost and consumption.

The advanced entries personalize your report so that you can directly compare your building's costs and consumption with its peers at the median (national average), 75th, and 90th percentiles.

What is a good result for my building?

  • 50 is the national median
  • 75th percentile is above average
  • 90th percentile is significantly above average
  • 90-100 represents top performers for your building type, size, location.

What can I do with these results?

  • If your score is below the median – Track your building data to figure out where you can find improvements in your building. There are likely many no- and low-cost opportunities to improve your building performance.
  • If your building is between the median & 75th percentile – Track your building data so you can identify hidden opportunities for efficiency. There are likely still many low-cost ECMs and scheduling improvements you can make to improve your building performance.
  • If your building is between the 75th & 90th percentiles – Track your building data so you can identify hidden opportunities for efficiency. There are likely a handful of low-cost ECMs and scheduling improvements you can make to improve your building performance.
  • If your building is above the 90th percentile – congratulations! You should highlight your great performance to your occupants and high-level executives through engaging reports and displays.

Why isn't my building/property type listed as an option?

We can only support the same 21 (of 80) property types that Energy Star supports, so the types available are contingent on those eligible to receive an ENERGY STAR score. BenchmarkMyBuilding requires property types which are eligible to receive a score because we reverse engineer that score, so we can reveal the underlying median/75th/90th percentile annual energy cost. View a summary of eligible building types on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR website, and read more about the other eligibility criteria for ENERGY STAR scores.

I am curious about the differences between BenchmarkMyBuilding and Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

BenchmarkMyBuilding uses both EnergyStar and the DOE Building Performance Database. Think of it as a lower barrier to entry and more visual way to understand where your building stands.

Is the report showing Site EUI or Source EUI?

Site EUI is referenced in BenchmarkMyBuilding's output. This is noted on the X-axis of the histogram card.

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strong>Does BenchmarkMyBuilding calculate EUI using the same data as Portfolio Manager? Or putting it another way, would I get the same result if I put a building into BMB as calculating EUI with Portfolio Manager on the same day?

For EUI benchmarks - yes - BenchmarkMyBuildig accesses the same underlying dataset of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, which is the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), via ENERGY STAR Target Finder. For clarity, the personalized EUI of your building in Portfolio Manager does not change daily but rather monthly, based on your building's latest 12 months of data. For personalized EUI of your building, as long as the 12 months summed and entered into BenchmarkMyBuilding represent the same most recent 12 months Portfolio Manager uses to calculate your EUI, then yes, the EUIs will be the same.

Are there slides which describe BenchmarkMyBuilding?

Check out the launch webinar video and presentation, here.

Don't see your question?

Reach out to info@lucidconnects.com. We add to the FAQ as we hear additional questions from users!

Josh Wentz

Josh is Director of Product & Engineering of BuildingOS at Lucid. He architects new apps, integrations, and platform features from idea conception through design, engineering, and launch. Prior to Lucid, he led the code development, user interface design, and software integration of a web-based building simulation tool by the U.S. DOE Energy Efficient Buildings Hub. He has also worked at PositivEnergy Practice of AS+GG Architects, General Electric (GE) Energy, and ANSYS. He holds a B.S. in Internet Science and B.A.E. in Architectural Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. @joshwentz