Overcoming Energy Benchmarking Challenges

Energy Benchmarking

In the landscape of modern environmental stewardship and efficiency, energy benchmarking has emerged as not just a buzzword but a compass for sustainable business practice.

It’s a practice embedded deeply in the Benchmarking Law, which mandates the tracking and reporting of energy use for large buildings, aiming to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste.

Yet, for many organizations, the journey to effective benchmarking is fraught with obstacles. Herein lies an essential cheat sheet—a guide to overcoming the ubiquitous challenges of energy benchmarking.

Understanding Energy Benchmarking 

At its core, energy benchmarking involves measuring a building or facility’s energy use and comparing it against a predefined standard or the performance of peer facilities. It’s a critical component of robust Energy Management strategies, aiming to shed light on inefficiencies and open pathways to energy conservation and cost savings.

Energy benchmarking is not merely about compliance; it’s about setting a course for continuous improvement. By understanding where energy consumption stands, businesses can implement changes that lead to substantial reductions in both costs and their environmental footprint.

Common Energy Benchmarking Challenges

Despite its apparent benefits, energy benchmarking carries its own set of challenges. From data collection woes to expertise scarcity, the barriers are substantial but not insurmountable.

Data Collection and Management

The first hurdle is often collecting and managing the right data. For many facilities, this means wrestling with disparate systems to compile a comprehensive dataset. Energy data can be scattered across different departments, held in various formats, and often inconsistent in its depth and quality.

Inaccurate Data 

Inaccurate energy data can derail the entire benchmarking effort. When consumption figures are faulty or misreported, the benchmarks set can misguide and misinform, leading to ineffective, or even counterproductive, energy management decisions.

Resource Allocation 

Energy benchmarking can be resource-intensive, requiring both human and financial capital. Organizations often find themselves strapped for the funds necessary to carry out comprehensive benchmarking or lacking the personnel equipped to handle the complexity of the task.

Expertise Deficit 

Energy benchmarking demands specific expertise—knowledge of best practices, data analytics, and familiarity with the latest technologies and methodologies in energy management. The scarcity of such expertise can leave organizations unable to interpret their data effectively, let alone act on it.

Access to Energy Data

Especially for tenants or those in managed properties, getting a hold on the requisite energy data poses a considerable challenge. Without access to this data, organizations are unable to see the full picture of their energy consumption.

Overcoming Energy Benchmarking Challenges 

Implementing Effective Data Collection 

To surmount these obstacles, the development of effective data collection strategies is essential. The utilization of Energy Management Software that can automatically aggregate data across multiple sources is a transformative solution. These platforms not only centralize data collection but also standardize it, providing a clear and accurate picture of energy usage.

Ensuring Data Accuracy 

Accuracy in data is paramount, and this can be bolstered by employing technologies such as smart meters and sub-meters that ensure the precision of energy consumption readings. Regular audits and cross-verification with utility bills can also maintain the integrity of energy data.

Resource Optimization 

When resources are tight, organizations must make strategic decisions about allocating them. Prioritizing energy benchmarking activities and exploring innovative funding opportunities, such as government grants for energy efficiency projects, can provide the necessary financial support.

Expanding Expertise 

Developing in-house expertise through training programs or hiring specialists can provide long-term benefits for an organization’s benchmarking initiatives. Alternatively, contracting expert consultants can fill immediate gaps and bring new insights into the energy benchmarking process.

Improving Data Access

Addressing the challenge of data access might require negotiations with building owners or utility companies to gain detailed consumption data. Modern building management systems and cloud-based platforms also offer solutions, allowing for real-time monitoring and data retrieval.

Advanced Strategies for Energy Benchmarking

With fundamentals in place, organizations can adopt advanced benchmarking strategies. Emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning can forecast trends and identify anomalies, enhancing energy-saving efforts. Participating in collaborative benchmarking initiatives can also lead to shared knowledge and better practices industry-wide.

Case Study: A Benchmarking Success Story 

A practical example of overcoming benchmarking challenges comes from a multinational organization that faced numerous obstacles in managing its energy performance.

By integrating a centralized energy management system and collaborating with external experts, they streamlined their data collection, ensured accurate analysis, and achieved improved energy efficiency.

The result was not only reduced operational costs but also enhanced compliance with regulatory standards and an increase in sustainability credentials.


While the challenges of energy benchmarking are significant, they are far from insurmountable. With a focused strategy, a commitment to accuracy, and an investment in technology and expertise, organizations can rise above these hurdles.

The outcome is not just about meeting the criteria set by the Benchmarking Law but about seizing the broader benefits: reduced costs, heightened efficiency, and a bold step towards a more sustainable future. Effective energy benchmarking is an achievable goal.

By addressing the challenges head-on and leveraging the right tools and strategies, organizations can transform their energy management practices and emerge as leaders in energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.