University of Wisconsin–Madison

Energy Benchmarking, Rating and Disclosure for Local Governments

Type Fact Sheet or Infographic
Year 2012
Level City or Town
State(s) All States
Policy Areas Community Development, Democracy & Governance, Energy, Environment & Natural Resources, Public Spaces
Benchmarking is the process of comparing inputs, processes, or outputs within or between organizations, often with an aim toward motivating performance improvement. Benchmarking typically measures performance using an indicator per common unit (e.g., cost per unit produced), which allows for comparison over time, to others, or to an applicable standard. When applied to building energy use, benchmarking can provide a mechanism for measuring how efficiently a building uses energy relative to the same building over time, other similar buildings, or modeled simulations of a building built to code or some desired standard. Building energy use is typically measured in energy use per square foot. To make comparison even easier, buildings can also be rated against pre-determined scales that can provide a single rating or score, taking into account variations in building operating characteristics, climate, or other factors. By making energy performance information readily available, disclosure of such ratings can facilitate market transformation toward more energy-efficient buildings.

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