ComEd's Energy Usage Data System log-in page.
Customer data is highly guarded in the utility industry. Yet as interest in benchmarking and energy management grows in the commercial sector, data accessibility is an issue facing many utilities. For utilities offering Automated Benchmarking Services (ABS) to their customers, determining a feasible solution is critical. To understand the benefits of offering ABS to your commercial customer, find additional information at ENERGY STAR 's Automated Benchmarking for Utilities.
The benefits of ABS are significant. ABS links a utility's database and ENERGY STAR 's Portfolio Manager software to help customers easily and regularly update and maintain their buildings' energy usage profile. Consistent information is key to a long-term energy management strategy and allows customers to see the impact of their efficiency investments through changes in their benchmarking score. Two utility ABS providers offer unique approaches to the customer data privacy issue:
- Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) created the Energy Usage Data System (EUDS), which aggregates multi-tenant building energy consumption data into an anonymous "virtual meter". EUDS can also provide data for buildings with a single meter and is likewise separated from the confidential account information.
- Avista Corporation's legal team reviewed the issue and concluded based upon Washington State utility regulations that while data cannot be released for a "commercial purpose," it can be released to a government agency. Avista only releases energy consumption data.
In addition, ABS features the ability to enter legal terms and conditions as customers log-in to the system, as well as the option to create custom identification fields that can be used for additional customer acknowledgement regarding data access.
Since EPA launched the Building Performance with ENERGY STAR (BPwES) initiative in May 2010, New Jersey's Clean Energy Program and Wisconsin Focus on Energy have stormed out of the gate. Both of these program sponsors launched BPwES pilots in late 2010/early 2011, and have already achieved notable successes and learned key lessons.
New Jersey's Clean Energy Program (NJ CEP) melded the BPwES program approach with its existing Pay for Performance program, in order to ensure the application of strategic and long-term energy management strategies at properties that were already planning for upgrades. Recruitment focused on customers in the retail and healthcare sectors — and even attracted interest from municipal customers. For customers with large portfolios in the state of New Jersey, the benchmarking component of BPwES has been particularly important. By leading off with a portfolio-wide benchmarking report, NJ CEP helped its customers to identify variations in performance across buildings, to bring this performance to the attention of senior decision makers, and to identify the best buildings to target for upgrades.
Focus on Energy used BPwES as an opportunity to conduct outreach to the retail sector, launching the brand-new Retail Energy Management Challenge. Participating customers included Kohl's, ShopKo, Blain's Farm & Fleet, and Gander Mountain Sports — cumulatively representing over 100 stores, and almost 100 million square feet in Wisconsin. Of these buildings, each customer used Portfolio Manager benchmarking results to identify properties to receive whole-building performance assessments, from which a smaller group of buildings were identified for the implementation of energy improvement measures. As of the date of this newsletter, project installation is almost complete across all customers, and initial results indicate a significant number of savings opportunities (especially low- and no-cost measures) that might not have been captured under a more prescriptive or equipment-centered program model.
For both program sponsors, the ENERGY STAR brand was a key factor in attracting customers. Coupled with the long-term, strategic planning focus of BPwES, this program model allowed NJ CEP and Focus to speak directly with corporate decision makers — obtaining high-level buy-in early on and enhancing the likelihood that projects would precede to completion.
EPA is currently compiling a report on early experience with BPwES and intends to complete this document by the fall. The report will provide more detail on specific experiences of NJ CEP and Focus, as well as insights and best practices gleaned from other BPwES pilot sponsors. In the meantime, for more information on the core elements that are included in Building Performance with ENERGY STAR , please visit EPA's Sponsors Guide to ENERGY STAR for Commercial Programs.
In keeping with its biannual schedule, EPA will be releasing updates to Portfolio Manager and the Automated Benchmarking System (ABS) in November 2011. This will be the last regular maintenance update before Portfolio Manager and ABS undergo significant upgrades, slated for release in early 2013. (For more details on the proposed upgrade to ABS, please click here ).
For utilities and other energy efficiency program sponsors that are offering automated benchmarking services to their customers, please note the following schedule and details regarding the changes that can be expected in November:
- September 12, 2011: draft schemas for ABS 2.5 posted to the Automated Benchmarking website
- October 3, 2011: full ABS 2.5 code released to beta environment for partner testing and review
- October 11, 2011: public webinar to present details on the ABS 2.5 update and discuss any provider questions/comments.
- November 7, 2011: ABS 2.5 officially released into production environment.
While the ABS 2.5 update will include assorted updates for maintenance and usability, the major change that ABS providers can expect is the release of a revised benchmarking model for hospitals, called "Hospital (General Medical and Surgical)." This model will replace the "Hospital(Acute Care and Children's)" model currently available in Portfolio Manager.
A more detailed white paper providing background on the new model development can be found here . A summary of the changes to the hospital model inputs is provided below.
|Required Benchmarking Data Inputs: "Acute Care/Children's Hospital"
||New Benchmarking Data Inputs: "Hospital (General Medical and Surgical)"
|Building or campus address
||Building or campus address
|Gross square footage
||Gross square footage
|Number of licensed beds
||Beds set-up and staffed for use
|Number of floors in tallest building
|On-site tertiary care services?
||Number of workers (full-time equivalent staff)
||Number of MRI equipment
|At least 12 consecutive months of energy use data for all fuel types
||At least 12 consecutive months of energy use data for all fuel types
|Zip Code (for weather data)
||Zip Code (for weather data)
The 2011 National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings has progressed steadily as 245 buildings across the country industriously work to curb their energy use. In July, EPA announced the top category contenders as of the midpoint. In early November, you'll see which buildings came out on top overall, as well as the cumulative impact of all competitors. In case you missed it, below is a list of the top category contenders as of the midpoint:
Bank: USE Credit Union: San Diego, Calif. 20%
Courthouse: Hammond U.S. Courthouse: Hammond, Ind. 14%
Dormitory: Kenan Residence Hall at UNC: Chapel Hill, N.C. 3%
Hospital: St Mark's Medical Center: La Grange, Texas 10%
Hotel: The Colonnade Hotel: Boston, Mass. 2%
House of Worship: First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis: Minneapolis, Minn. 14%
Office: Scientific Instruments: West Palm Beach, Fla. 30%
K-12 School: Jackson Creek Middle School: Bloomington, Ind. 26%
Medical Office: North Suburban Medical Office Building: Thornton, Colo. 18%
Retail: Office Depot: Plano, Texas 17%
Warehouse: Norandex: Rochester, N.Y. 8%
Other: University of Central Florida's Garage C: Orlando, Fla. 31%
In the first six months of the competition alone, teams representing 245 buildings around the country have saved more than $3.7 million on utility bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity used by 2,300 homes annually. Competitors measure and track their building's monthly energy consumption using EPA's ENERGY STAR online energy tracking tool, Portfolio Manager. The building with the largest percentage reduction in energy use, adjusted for weather and the size of the building, will be recognized as the winner in November.
Visit www.energystar.gov/BattleoftheBuildings to learn more about the competitors, get real-time updates via a live Twitter feed, and join in on a Facebook forum to exchange ideas and strategies.
EPA is adopting a policy that will change the year associated with your ENERGY STAR certification. Currently, the certification year is based on the 12-month period ending date listed on your Statement of Energy Performance (SEP). However, for all label applications approved on or after January 1, 2012, the year of your certification will reflect the year during which your application for ENERGY STAR certification is approved, regardless of the SEP period ending date. The purpose of this change is to align the year of your certification with the calendar year in which it was approved. This change will make it easier for you and EPA to communicate and celebrate your award with the public.
Important Information for Those Who Have Not Yet Applied for 2011 Certification
If you received a 2010 certification with an SEP dated in the last four months of 2010, please take note: In order for you to earn a 2011 award, your application must be approved by December 31, 2011. EPA will guarantee 2011 approval for all applications that are postmarked by November 15, 2011 or earlier and which require no additional questions or follow-up by EPA. Since, typically, your building might not have been eligible to apply by this deadline, EPA has manually reset your building's account to be eligible as of August 31, 2011.
Important Information for Everyone Eligible for ENERGY STAR Certification
In future years, to ensure that your building earns certification for the current year, you must postmark your application by November 15. As long as your application does not trigger any follow-up or additional questions, EPA will guarantee current-year approval, which means that your building will receive current-year certification.
Omaha Public Power District (OPPD)
This year Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) became the first public utility to be recognized as an ENERGY STAR Leader for improving energy efficiency by 10 percent across its portfolio of buildings. With more than 580,000 square feet of office space, OPPD-owned buildings are themselves one of the utility's largest commercial customers. The improvements translate to more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours that did not need to be generated last year over the baseline year.
OPPD's Sustainable Energy & Environmental Stewardship and Facilities Management divisions led the effort, building on the utility's long-standing ENERGY STAR partnership. They opted to take the ENERGY STAR Challenge, with the initial goal of achieving a 10 percent reduction in energy use as part of this commitment. EPA's ENERGY STAR measurement and tracking tool, Portfolio Manager, made it easy to track the progress of energy-efficiency efforts at OPPD facilities.
Among other energy-efficiency solutions, OPPD conducted:
- Energy, Commissioning, and Optimization 24/7 (ECO 24/7). ECO 24/7 projects maintain or improve building occupant comfort, while maximizing energy efficiency by optimizing systems already used in the building.
- Lighting retrofits and technology upgrades in several of the facilities, and motion sensors were installed in many offices and conference rooms.
- An Information Technology acquisition policy helped the effort, as new desktops and laptops must be ENERGY STAR -qualified.
OPPD is one of the largest publicly owned electric utilities in the nation, serving more than 350,000 customers in its 13-county, 5,000-square mile service area in southeast Nebraska.
If the energy efficiency of U.S. Buildings improved by 10 percent, Americans would save about $20 billion and reduce greenhouse gases equal to the emissions from about 30 million vehicles.