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  • [ February 8, 2013 ]
  • Integrating Benchmarking into Public Building Improvements

BY KELLY MADSEN | IOWA ENERGY CENTER

Start date: January 15, 2013
End date: September 30, 2014

In continuation of the Iowa Benchmarking Pilot Project, which aims to establish an Iowa public benchmarking platform, the Iowa Energy Center begins Phase II of the project: Integrating Benchmarking into Public Building Improvements. 

Under the contract with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) the project will begin by expanding the Iowa Benchmarking Platform by adding 800 buildings in the next 18 months. It is expected that by the end of the program, there will be at least 2,015 buildings in the benchmarking platform database, equaling about 25 percent of all public buildings in Iowa. With the collected information, the team can identify buildings that are good candidates for energy efficiency retrofits and could support the goal of 20 percent energy savings by 2020. During this process, the Iowa Energy Center and the IEDA will also provide training and education for the platform, and work to improve the benchmarking platform functionalities with a web-based data protocol.

For the project, other team members include the Weidt Group as the platform vender, and the Center for Energy & Environmental Education (CEEE) at the University of Northern Iowa as the sector leader.

During the final stage of the program, the Iowa Energy Center and the IEDA hope to use the data collected from the first phase and showcase energy efficiency improvements and whole building retrofits. The outcomes of this phase will be used as a model to encourage other organization to undertake similar projects. During this stage, the Iowa Energy Bank and Iowa Utility energy efficiency programs will provide financial and technical resources needed to undertake the improvements. The strategies and partnerships developed through this program will help promote widespread building retrofits and energy-saving activities.

With information from the Iowa Public Benchmarking system database, building owners can easily identify which of the benchmarked building sites are consuming more or less energy than expected or building sites that are consuming more or less energy than the previous year. The database can also provide a point of reference for similar building types in Iowa.

The partnerships and resources developed during the program will help build an effective and self-sustaining public building energy efficiency benchmarking program for the future.

“Hopefully this program will serve as a tool for understanding and planning future retrofits and energy efficiency projects,” said Xiaohui (Joe) Zhou, the Building Energy Efficiency Program Manager at the Iowa Energy Center. “Ideally, it will also inspire groups to uptake energy efficiency changes in their public buildings.” 

As part of the upcoming benchmarking efforts, the program hopes to add about 800 buildings to the database from various public sectors: city, county, K-12 schools, community colleges, and state agencies. Participation in the program is free, and organizations interested in participating in the benchmarking project should contact Xiaohui Zhou at the Iowa Energy Center or Jeff Beneke at the University of Northern Iowa. An informational webcast about the project will be scheduled in March, 2013.

Below is a list of the current 59 organizations (1218 buildings) participating in the Iowa Public Benchmarking program:

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