Salt Lake City Benchmarking – the First Step to 100% Renewables – BuildingIQ

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Salt Lake City Benchmarking – the First Step to 100% Renewables

This past August, a new ordinance in Salt Lake City was passed requiring owners of large commercial buildings, 25,000 sq. ft. or larger, to provide the city with annual measurements of their energy usage. This is part of an effort to cut energy costs and reduce air pollution; and a step toward the goal to use 100 percent renewable electricity by 2032 and reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2040. This same concept is behind many of the benchmarking ordinances that have been implemented across the U.S.

Building owners in SLC will have an extra incentive to optimize performance since the city plans to make public the energy scores of buildings that are more efficient than the 50 percent of similar ones nationwide. This could be one more competitive advantage that high-performing buildings will have in attracting tenants. Still, creating buy-in among building owners/operators to take action toward efficiency will undoubtedly prove difficult, as Wendy Lee, City Energy Project City Advisor for Salt Lake City mentions in an article she wrote for TheEnergyCollective.com.

“Combing through hundreds of pages worth of energy efficiency strategies or attending workshops every week can be a daunting task, especially for managers who are constantly addressing the immediate needs of their tenants and owners. Add that to the large stream of solicitations from vendors, networking events, and industry events that fill up email inboxes and you have a recipe for inundation and inaction – this is a problem that the City’s new benchmarking ordinance will help.”

The expected stress and uncertainty for these building owners is what we aim to help alleviate through our 5i Intelligent Energy Platform. For building owners/operators who have no visibility into the performance and energy consumption of their sites, it’s easy to falsely accept that energy usage is a fixed and unavoidable cost. But, energy data and analytics will certainly help break this misguided notion. As our 5i platform is cloud-based, there are minimal changes that need to be done to a building. By allowing the platform to access the existing Building Management System, the 5i platform can pull internal building data and pair it with external variables such as weather forecasts, utility pricing, and more.

The 5i platform bridges the gap between benchmarking and active savings. Meeting the new requirements can be as simple, inexpensive, and straightforward; and can even set the stage for advanced energy optimization when the time is right. BuildingIQ’s Energy Worksite can be deployed in as short a time as one week to give building owners—as well as authorized parties— visibility into hourly energy use by building, floor, or meter. For campus managers, buildings are compared in highly configurable dashboards to show outliers and energy anomalies at the meter level. Once installed, building owners can easily push energy data into ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®.

Energy Worksite start with visualization and benchmarking and provide tremendous insights into building energy use. It’s also the beginning of a journey into more efficient energy use within a building or campus because additional, optional energy services can be added to provide deeper energy insights, fault-detection, data-based preventative maintenance, and even predictive control of energy to minimize energy costs 24/7.  In addition to fulfilling reporting and benchmarking requirements, the 5i Platform gives users actionable data that they can use to save time, money, and future headaches.

Salt Lake City’s benchmarking initiative will be rolled out in phases over three years. In total, estimated savings for owners are expected to reach $15.8 million annually. Salt Lake City is the 25th American city to adopt such a policy. Are you a building owner or operator in SLC? Are you prepared? If you’re not located in SLC, will your city be next and are you prepared?


Steve Nguyen is VP of Product and Marketing at BuildingIQ. He loves products and ideas that transform markets or society. Whether they are transformative in and of themselves, or because they are enablers, he’s driven by creating the stories, teams, and strategy that make these agents successful.