Have you ever opened your electric bill and thought, “That’s better than it used to be, but it still seems high. Are other restaurant owners like me paying this much?” Man, wouldn’t it be nice to know the answer to that question! Well, you can with a process called “energy benchmarking.”
Energy benchmarking is a process of comparing and evaluating the energy performance of a building or facility against established standards or benchmarks. It involves measuring and analyzing energy consumption data to assess how efficiently a building uses energy compared to similar buildings or industry benchmarks.
The key word there is similar. If you’re operating out of an historic building that was built 100 years ago, it’s not helpful to compare your energy expenditure to the new restaurant down the road with the state-of-the-art kitchen. That kind of comparison will only leave you feeling frustrated and behind.
Instead, energy benchmarking should give you knowledge and guidance, which will empower you to make your restaurant even better. The goal of energy benchmarking is to provide a baseline for understanding and assessing energy performance, identifying areas of improvement, and implementing energy-saving strategies.
You might be thinking this sounds similar to an energy audit (more on that here!), but they are different processes. While an energy audit is hyper focused on the operations of your restaurant, energy benchmarking is a broader study that provides you with a different set of data.
Energy benchmarking typically involves collecting data on energy consumption, such as electricity, natural gas, water, and sometimes other relevant metrics like square footage or occupancy levels. This data is then normalized and compared against a benchmark, which could be a standard energy performance index, energy efficiency rating, or the average performance of similar buildings.
Benchmarking can be done at various scales, from individual buildings to entire portfolios or sectors. It can be facilitated through various tools, software platforms, and energy management systems that help analyze and visualize energy data and provide insights for decision-making.
There’s a certain peace of mind that comes from knowing where you stand, even if it means knowing you’ve got some catching up to do. Energy benchmarking helps give you an accurate perspective of what kind of goals you should have for your restaurant, and that can motivate you and guide you as you make plans for the future.
Perhaps that biggest benefit of energy benchmarking is being able to identify savings opportunities. It helps pinpoint opportunities for upgrades, equipment replacements, or operational improvements. If there are investments that need to be made in order to acquire those savings, you can make those necessary changes with confidence, knowing that it will pay off.
Benchmarking also helps you know the best order for making those upgrades. After completing the energy benchmarking, you’ll be able to see what areas need immediate attention, allowing you to focus your efforts there and see results sooner rather than later.
Along with all the monetary benefits you are sure to see, there is also the environmental aspect to consider. Benchmarking supports sustainability initiatives by providing data on energy performance improvements, and you will be adding to that pool of data when you complete your benchmarking assessment. Also, some areas have energy compliance and reporting policies. Benchmarking can help ensure that your business meets all local energy requirements.
Overall, energy benchmarking is a valuable tool for measuring, comparing, and improving energy performance. It supports informed decision-making, encourages energy efficiency initiatives, and contributes to cost savings and environmental sustainability. If you are thinking that you need energy benchmarking and a plan for a more efficient future, reach out to us at GWT2Energy today, and we’ll help you meet your goals and improve your bottom line on the way!