Energy Benchmarking: An Opportunity to Save Energy and Costs

Cities across Canada have experienced immediate shifts in how and where people work and live. Following public health guidelines promoting social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19 meant that shopping centres had to close, manufacturing facilities needed to adjust their operations, and people utilized opportunities to work from home wherever possible. As a result, many buildings are operating with significantly reduced occupancy. Yet, not all building operators are seeing an equivalent reduction in energy costs. Why? In short, the answer is benchmarking

What is benchmarking?

Benchmarking is the process through which you measure your building’s performance at a given point in time and compare it both to the same building’s historical energy performance as well as to other similar buildings. Benchmarking your building’s energy performance helps you control and manage energy use over time, ultimately helping you find ways to reduce your operating costs by aligning building performance, occupancy, and energy demand.

As stated on Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)’s website, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” In other words, benchmarking is the first step to developing an energy management strategy.

What are the benefits of benchmarking?

In the big picture, benchmarking helps create a baseline that allows building operators to identify when the building is performing efficiently and when it is not. The value of benchmarking lies primarily in the data collected and what it can tell you. Although it is not mandated in every province and territory in Canada, energy benchmarking can have a positive impact on your building’s efficiency and associated costs in the long term. Essentially, benchmarking provides an opportunity to:

  • Better understand your building’s performance through the data collected on energy use
  • Raise the value of your property and leverage energy efficiency as a differentiator for prospective tenants
  • Enable informed decision making and help identify replicable energy best practices

How does benchmarking work?

Modern Niagara follows a number of steps to help building operators set priorities, identify opportunities for improvement, and reduce carbon footprint. These include:

  1. Collecting the building’s utility and water bills dating back to at least one year
  2. Conducting an in-depth analysis of this data
  3. Uploading the same data to the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool developed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)
  4. Obtain a report detailing your Energy Usage Intensity and how it compares to similar buildings across Canada

As building operators continue to maintain buildings and facilities through an ever-changing environment, getting ahead and staying ahead of evolving energy use and demands is more important than ever. Benchmarking is key to getting ahead and turning every uncertainty into an opportunity.


Are you ready to benchmark your building? Click here to contact our Energy Solutions team for more information!