Data Access and Benchmarking Solutions
As energy performance benchmarking becomes standard practice in the commercial building industry – and a growing number of state and local governments are implementing benchmarking ordinances and/or building performance standards – owners and managers of commercial and multifamily buildings are turning to their utilities to offer a simple process for obtaining the complete consumption data needed to accurately benchmark their properties. These aggregate data solutions are especially critical in cases of multi-tenant or multi-family properties, where the building owner/manager that is seeking (or even required!) to benchmark the property may not have access to the necessary energy consumption data.
ENERGY STAR Support Resources
ENERGY STAR offers a range of resource to help utilities understand and navigate the process for designing and deploying these customer-facing data access solutions. These include:
- High-level Key Considerations, as well as a discussion of best practices (coming soon!) for system design and development.
- PowerPoint slide modules to walk you through the key decision points that a typical utility will face when considering options for providing enhanced data access to commercial customers.
- Dedicated Help Desk support for data access-related questions, with the opportunity for technical and strategic guidance from ENERGY STAR subject matter experts.
- Detailed documentation on the Portfolio Manager web services API.
- Tailored Portfolio Manager functionality to help utilities and their customers ensure that aggregate whole-building consumption data is complete and accurate
- Assistance for building owners seeking to identify availability of utility data access solutions (including an online map as well as proactive notifications within Portfolio Manager).
- Information and context on data access for state and local policymakers.
Data Access in Practice
To date, more than 50 utilities are stepping up to assist owners and operators by making aggregate whole-building data readily available for upload into their Portfolio Manager accounts. Typically, these data access solutions take one of two pathways:
- Aggregated whole building data are sent directly to a building’s Portfolio Manager record via the Portfolio Manager web services application programming interface (API); or
- Aggregated whole building data are provided to a building owner/manager in spreadsheet format (whether via email, or by download from an online portal), for them to enter into Portfolio Manager manually.
While each of these approaches can meet the immediate and foundational need for aggregate whole-building consumption data, a significant majority of utilities offering data access solutions have opted to use the Portfolio Manager web services API. This approach has the added benefits of:
- Delivering consumption data directly to a building’s Portfolio Manager record, thereby avoiding the need for data re-entry by the property owner or manager;
- Enabling utilities to provide ongoing access to aggregate consumption data, without requiring the building owner or manager to initiate repeat requests;
- Allowing utilities to gain actionable insights into the performance of their customers’ properties, which can be used to design, promote, and implement efficiency and/or demand response programs seeking to drive comprehensive whole-building solutions.
When thoughtfully deployed, utility data access solutions can address a clear customer need while also positioning the utility as a trusted partner to help building owners pursue their energy and sustainability goals.
For more information, or to discuss further with an ENERGY STAR expert, please submit a Help Desk ticket here.