About Building Benchmarking

1) What is benchmarking:  

Benchmarking a building is measuring its energy and water use and using that data to compare its performance over time as well as to compare it to similar buildings’. Benchmarking allows owners and occupants to understand their building’s relative energy and water performance as well as wastage.  They can use that information to make strategic decisions that will potentially save money and energy while improving comfort and health. 

Starting in 2018, owners of non-residential buildings that are larger than 50,000 sq ft will be required to benchmark for the first time by June 1st 2018 and yearly thereafter

BOMA Pittsburgh, City Energy Project and the Division of Sustainability and Resilience developed this one-pager with all you need to know to comply.

2) Benefits of benchmarking:

Economic Benefits 
With energy and water costs accounting for an average 26.8 percent of office building operating costs nationally, efficiency improvements can help building owners and tenants to significantly cut their utility bills. These savings can be put toward other needs, such as the purchase of goods and services, which in turn drive local economic activity. 

Making cities’ buildings more efficient will also create jobs at all skill levels—and free up money currently being spent on utility bills to flow back into the local economy. Moreover, investments made to improve building performance support local, highly skilled jobs that cannot be outsourced. 

Public Health Benefits 
Over 166 million people, roughly 52 percent of the U.S. population, still lives amidst pollution levels that are often too dangerous to breathe. Fossil-fueled power plants are responsible for much of the nation’s sulfur dioxide, which fouls the air. Based on the 2013 sector based inventory, Pittsburgh’s buildings are responsible for 81% of carbon emissions through the consumption of electricity and natural gas. Energy efficiency is a low-cost energy strategy that reduces pollution by reducing demand for existing and new energy production. 

Low-Income Benefits 
Our urban center account for more than 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Low-income communities face the greatest exposure to aging and poorly constructed housing and coal-burning power plants, both of which can lead to health issues disproportionately impacting this portion of our communities.  

Many of the same things we can do to curb the effects of climate change can also make our cities healthier and economically resilient places to live for low-income residents. 

3) Building Benchmarking and the OnePGH initiative:

Building Benchmarking is a foundational stepping-stone toward achieving the city’s 2030 goals 

Internal City Operations: 

  1. 100% renewable energy use  
  2. 100% fossil fuel free fleet
  3. Divestment from fossil fuels 

 City of Pittsburgh:  

  1. 50% energy use reduction 
  2. 50% transportation emission reduction  
  3. Zero Waste- 100% diversion from landfills.

More info in the State of Sustainability and OnePGH 

4) City Energy Project:

The City Energy Project is a national initiative to create healthier and more prosperous American cities by improving the energy efficiency of buildings. Working in partnership, the Project and cities support innovative, practical solutions that cut energy waste, boost local economies, and reduce harmful pollution.  

The City Energy Project is providing support to assist with the implementation of the ordinance in Pittsburgh. 

The pioneering actions of the 20 cities involved in the City Energy Project will be models for communities nationwide and around the world. 

The City Energy Project cities are: Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Des Moines, Iowa; Fort Collins, Colo.; Houston; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Miami-Dade County, Fla.; New Orleans; Orlando; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Providence, R.I; Reno, Nev.; Salt Lake City; San Jose, Calif,; St. Louis; and St. Paul, Minn.