B3 Benchmarking is a powerful energy tracking, reporting and benchmarking system developed for the State of Minnesota. The program is now offered in the State of Iowa, facilitated by the Iowa Energy Center.
Scarce federal, state and local resources make it is essential that every dollar spent on building construction and retrofit meets a high standard of fiscal responsibility. What is needed is a comprehensive approach to federal, state and local building construction and retrofits that optimizes return on investment. Building codes that improve the standard of construction set the floor for construction performance in new and existing buildings. Beyond-code programs like the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Green Rating System™ and other voluntary programs help to drive efficiency improvements above code in new construction.
The B3 Benchmarking System, (B3) developed specifically for public sector portfolios of buildings, offers a comprehensive solution to benchmarking, baselining tracking, managing and improving facilities at a reasonable price point to meet the constraints of state budgets.
Benchmarking supports the goals of the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, the State Energy Efficiency (SEE) Action working groups, the President’s Better Building Initiative, the Architecture 2030 Challenge, and the policy and regulatory frameworks in most states. For states and local governments that have committed to energy efficiency goals or climate goals via state legislation, executive orders, or municipal ordinances, B3 System establishes building-specific, portfolio-wide baselines for tracking commitments to those policy goals. The B3 System helps to advance policies, programs, and market strategies that accelerate job creation and reduce energy bills while achieving energy and climate security for our nation and seeks to transform markets fundamentally and permanently.
In 2010 alone, $23.2 million in savings opportunities were identified from those buildings.
B3, developed by Weidt®, is the first public-building specific simulation-based benchmarking tool. It currently hosts the building characteristics and energy consumption specifics of nearly 7,000+ public buildings. In 2010 alone, $23.2 million in savings opportunities were identified from those buildings. Benchmarking state and local government facilities with B3 allows its subscribers to maximize the effectiveness of limited state energy efficiency investment tools by:
- Easily and consistently, defining properties and identify the energy usage of state buildings for agencies, county and local governments and institutions
- Allowing quick sorts and analyses to parse, sum and rank order energy savings opportunities
- Clearly establishing an orderly "road map" for planning investments and managing improvements in all government and institutional buildings across multiple regulatory and funding cycles
- Flexibly categorizing benchmarked buildings by geography, building type, utility service territory or government jurisdiction to optimize program design, funding, budgets, operations and management
- Continuously tracking the success of efficiency investments made in individual buildings and reporting back on progress over time
- Effectively use Event Pinning and Building Versioning to normalization and track performance before and after energy upgrades
In sum, benchmarking creates a pipeline for DSM-eligible projects or any other funding vehicle the state creates, as well as private sector financing and make participating state and local governments more discerning consumers of ESCO services.
Minnesota and Iowa
To date, the program has a 90%+ participation rate and has identified over $23.2 million in potential energy savings.
The State of Minnesota Administrative Department hired The Weidt Group to implement this public building benchmarking program. Their goal was to capture enough information about Minnesota’s population public buildings and identify those buildings that would yield the highest return on investment for energy-related building improvements. There are currently 6400 facilities in B3 in Minnesota and 1200 in Iowa. In 2010, the B3 program, as part of the state of Minnesota Portfolio of Sustainable Buildings, was recognized in ACEEE’s State’s Stepping Forward Report. To date, the program has a 90%+ participation rate and has identified over $23.2 million in potential energy savings. The program is now identifying high ROI projects and serving as a feeder tool for other state and utility programs.
Currently the State of Minnesota is using B3 to qualify projects for the Public Buildings Enhanced Energy Efficiency Program (PBEEEP) for State and Local Governments. After the improvement projects are completed, B3 is used to conduct measurement and verification studies using the B3 weather normalized Baseline comparison to determine actual savings.
The collected data will be used to inform investments in building energy performance, and to track savings as buildings are improved. The Minnesota Building Benchmarking web site can be seen at mn.b3benchmarking.com, and the Iowa Building Benchmarking website is ia.b3benchmarking.com.
Get the Facts
Download: PDF B3 Benchmarking Fact Sheet