Benchmarked, a new energy blog series, examines local businesses who have used EPA’s Portfolio Manager to track energy use.
Company/Property Name: Montgomery County Maryland
Name and Title: Michael Yambrach, Capital Energy Projects Manager
How many buildings do you manage?
412 leased, owned and operated.
What kinds of building uses are in your buildings?
Office buildings, libraries, fire stations, shelters, recreation centers, miscellaneous others.
When did your company begin benchmarking?
Originally benchmarked in 2008 in concert with energy audits of key facilities. The County, in compliance with Council Bill 2-14, has begun systematically incorporating benchmarking as a standard practice.
Why did you begin benchmarking?
The County has always seen benchmarking as a tool to track building performance and identify priorities. Facilities were initially benchmarked as part of the County’s climate protection plan. Compliance with Council Bill 2-14 was an opportunity to revisit this important practice.
Who has done (in the past) and does (if different now) your benchmarking in Portfolio Manager?
Benchmarking is a responsibility of the Department of General Services (DGS) within the Office of Energy and Sustainability (OES). OES is responsible for utilities, energy management and sustainability for County Government operations.
How has benchmarking your energy use changed the way you manage your portfolio? What do you do now that you didn’t do before?
As it is the first time, we are reviewing the numbers and will identify where focus needs to occur to improve the scores. This review of data will help us determine priorities and seek financial support for improvements.
Have you done anything that drastically improved a building score? If yes, what?
Not at this date.
What building’s energy performance are you most proud of, and why?
Montgomery County is executing an Energy Performance Contracting initiative, including $81 million in retrofits. The first project completed was Health and Human Services (HHS) headquarters at 401 Hungerford Drive. The County invested over $4.1 million in improvements, reducing the energy consumption of the facility nearly 30%. The County has reduced energy consumption 30% and is saving over $170,000 annually. A healthy benchmarking score is anticipated after a full year of data is collected. The County is also installing 15 solar projects on County buildings and will implement Performance Contracting agreements on several other buildings.
What advice would you give for anyone benchmarking for the first time?
Double the amount of resource time and physical time it takes to benchmark. Additional time is necessary for organizations with multiple types of buildings. Building identification, ownership and control with different types of leases and ownership rights has to be understood. Then there is the time necessary for data validation. This process can be cumbersome and needs to have a person knowledgeable on the billing and consumption data collection process to be effective.