New energy data collection protocols and tracking tools developed by TRC in partnership with Enterprise Green Communities, Mercy Housing, and Winn Companies were recently published as an official benchmarking resource by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
These benchmarking resources represent TRC’s latest contributions to the growing national effort for greater transparency around building energy consumption and costs. We are pleased to partner with HUD and others for a comprehensive, unified benchmarking approach and toolset that streamlines the process and ultimately accelerates energy savings opportunities for multifamily buildings.
Measuring and reporting the energy use of mid-to-large-scale buildings empowers property managers and tenants to make smarter energy choices, and local decision-makers to align the financial and other incentives necessary to promote energy efficiency.
These are also among the reasons why benchmarking requirements are increasingly integral to city and local government-run energy programs. These programs often include “tenant-paid” multifamily buildings, which requires multifamily property managers to be responsible for reporting consumption data across their building portfolios as part of the benchmarking process. Doing so is no easy task.
Property managers are not authorized to collect tenants’ usage data from utilities without tenant approval. To get this approval, property managers contend with each utility’s particular requirements as well as tenant turnover, culture, and language barriers. Upon gaining approval, property managers must then collect and report information appropriately based on the benchmarking program or jurisdiction.
The TRC tools should help expedite the energy data collection required by benchmarking tools, such as U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, to evaluate whole building operational performance. Through effective benchmarking, property managers are able to assess and improve their buildings’ performance, and comply with:
1. Benchmarking requirements from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge and local benchmarking jurisdictions, and
2. HUD’s methodology for completing the multifamily utility analysis used to set tenant “utility allowances” or the amount of total tenant utility costs subsidized by HUD.
TRC synthesized insights from extensive surveys and interviews into the right data collection processes and supporting tools (i.e., database, calculation model, etc.). These resources have the flexibility to address a diversity of agency/programmatic requirements, utility providers and tenant data confidentiality agreements. Today, these resources provide solutions for multifamily property managers to comply with 25+ utilities and 15+ jurisdictional requirements. HUD and the team plan to scale up the tools to support additional scenarios over time.
TRC was selected for this work given our decades of successful multifamily energy efficiency services, unique in the industry. This includes past experience with Enterprise Green Communities on utility allowance calculations, as well effective multifamily benchmarking programs and services for NYSERDA, Efficiency Maine, and others.
For more information on the full HUD benchmarking toolset, which includes TRC’s contributions, refer to: https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/utility-benchmarking/