Peer-to-Peer Benchmarking, Elevators, Revolving Doors and Merry-Go-Rounds

by ‐ Tags: tracking and benchmarking, green living

Ever wonder how WegoWise came up with its peer-to-peer energy benchmarks? Well, today’s your lucky day. We’ll show you our benchmarking basics and some interesting background info too - like how elevators and revolving doors play into the efficiency equation. By the time you're through, you'll understand how energy benchmarking can ultimately help you step off the inefficiency merry-go-round!

By asking our users a few simple questions about their buildings, WegoWise categorizes buildings quite easily. And, because our industry-leading database is over 25,000 buildings strong, you can feel confident about the accuracy of these benchmarking comparisons.

The method is relatively simple:

  1. First, we filter our buildings based on climate zone. For this exercise, we use the Department of Energy's “Guide to Determining Climate Regions by County.” This reference guide ensures that regional weather variations are taken into account. We group buildings that experience similar weather, so users see how their buildings rate against only those in their distinct climate zone.

    Rest assured, your drafty apartment building in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, or Denver won’t be benchmarked against a building in a more temperate zone like Miami, Phoenix or Houston.

DOE Climate Map.jpg

  1. Next, we group buildings by heating source. Electrically-heated buildings perform much differently than gas-heated buildings, and they’re only benchmarked against each other.

    You can see how differently gas-heated and electric-heated buildings perform by looking at their WegoScores. In contrast to the peer-to-peer benchmarks, WegoScores only take climate zone and building type into account. On the other hand, the dual Energy and Carbon WegoScores take fuel choice into account: energy scores relate to on-site efficiency, whereas carbon scores describe the carbon impact of your building's energy usage based on source energy.

    Over at our information playground, data.wegowise, you can toggle between heating fuels to gain insights. For example, in the image below you can see (1) electrically-heated buildings generally receive lower Carbon WegoScores with the same Energy WegoScore, (2) the two scores correlate well, but not perfectly, and (3) that we track more gas-heated buildings.

          

  1. Lastly, we group buildings by size, but more specifically height. Why? Because taller buildings are typically less efficient than low- or mid-rise buildings. High-rise facilities have different systems and unique equipment, such as elevators and even revolving doors. How do these impact benchmarking?

    Considering that an elevator can account for 3-7% of your building’s energy use, you do not want it benchmarked against a low-rise.  And if you’re being proactive, you may even want to take steps to improve your elevator’s efficiency.

    And what about revolving doors?  We bring this up simply to illustrate another area where you can improve your building’s efficiency. This MIT study proposes that you could recognize an annual savings of ~1.5% of your total energy usage by investing in and using a revolving door versus a traditional swinging door. Once installed, don’t forget to keep all seals maintained to avoid airflow leakage!

    Another reason to benchmark buildings based on height is the stack effect. In taller buildings, this concept can dramatically affect energy usage. In the winter, a building’s heat escapes through the roof, and cold air is pulled in through basement and first floor doors and windows. First floor tenants in these buildings try to stay warm by cranking the thermostat up, while those on the middle and top floors open windows.Stack effect on a building


    This can create an energy inefficiency merry-go-round of sorts. But by benchmarking data with WegoWise, mid- and high-rise property owners can see how their individual buildings are performing, prioritize energy retrofits and end this vicious cycle.
     

How do you get off the inefficiency carousel? Start by finding out how your building portfolio or single family home compares to its peers with a free WegoWise trial today.

How do your buildings stack up? Find out with a free 30-day trial.