New National Standard for Building Energy and Water Benchmarking Professionals Launches

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The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), in collaboration with the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI), launched the Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking®, a national, online, interactive training and certificate program for building energy and water benchmarking professionals.

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The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), in collaboration with the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI), launched the Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking®, a national, online, interactive training and certificate program for building energy and water benchmarking professionals. The program is designed to educate users through a no-cost online training component on how to accurately collect building energy and water benchmarking data and use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR™ Portfolio Manager® tool to benchmark building performance, and for a fee, certify participants who successfully complete the training and exam.

The ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool has most commonly been used voluntarily, but recently cities, states, and other jurisdictions have started to require its use to benchmark private sector properties. As energy information is making its way into the public realm as the next wave of “big data,” accuracy is especially important. The Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking is designed to be a national standard for benchmarking professionals to ensure quality of self-reported benchmarking data.

On average, buildings waste 30% of the energy they consume due to inefficiencies, so there is tremendous opportunity to use energy smarter and save money for owners and tenants alike. Often the first step in identifying inefficiencies is to benchmark a building to understand how its performance compares to other similar buildings using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool, which provides analysis of performance and, for many building types, a 1-100 score to inform building owners and managers about their building’s performance relative to others in the marketplace. Evidence of the energy savings produced by benchmarking is already available. From 2008-2011, the EPA analyzed data from over 35,000 buildings that used Portfolio Manager and received an ENERGY STAR® score. The results showed that during that time, energy use declined by an average of 7 percent.

The Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking® is issued by The Center for Building Knowledge (CBK), which is a research and training institute affiliated with the College of Architecture and Design at NJIT. CBK is dedicated to generating new knowledge to improve the built environment and enhance the quality of life. Led by Executive Director Deane Evans, CBK's mission is to help individuals and communities make better-informed decisions concerning the built environment.

The Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking® was developed and supported by the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI), which is focused on generating impact in the small- and medium-sized commercial buildings (SMSCB) retrofit market. Located at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia, CBEI develops and demonstrates systems solutions in a real-world regional context for future national deployment. Bringing together 14 organizations including major research universities, global industrial firms, and national laboratories from across the United States, CBEI is dedicated to creating pathways to 50% energy reduction in existing buildings by 2030. Numerous senior investigators and graduate students are actively engaged in CBEI research projects.

Additional support for the Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking® came from the Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and an advisory group of industry experts who provided insight and expertise into the content and structure of the training and certificate program.

You can learn more about the Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking® by visiting http://www.benchmarkingcertificate.org.

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