About Energy Data Access
As more building owners and managers start to measure their energy use across their buildings or portfolios, they require easy access to—at a minimum—their monthly whole-building energy data. The data must be user-friendly, streamlined, downloadable, recurring, and automatically transferrable into benchmarking programs such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
In the past, energy data was only available on paper bills or in PDFs, which would then require manual input into benchmarking software. And building owners that had multiple tenants often couldn’t get any whole-building data at all. Since collecting the data and obtaining written consent from individual tenants was time-consuming and burdensome for building owners, more utilities are now offer access to aggregated whole-building data, which combines the consumption of all tenant and common area spaces and avoids privacy concerns for individual tenants.
With better energy data increasingly at their fingertips, building owners can more easily benchmark, measure, manage, and track energy performance in their buildings—which means they can prioritize and implement better energy efficiency projects.
Energy Data Access in the Southwest
The Southwest region is fortunate that several of our large utilities now offer energy data access—and in fact utilities across the country look to these programs as good models to copy. Xcel Energy in Colorado, Rocky Mountain Power in Utah, and Dominion Gas in Utah were each national leaders in offering user-friendly whole-building energy data, and PNM is launching a program as well. They are each well-designed with a low aggregation threshold. Utilities in Arizona and Nevada still don’t offer monthly aggregated whole-building energy data access as a standard customer service.
SWEEP's Role in Energy Data Access
SWEEP works with each of the utilities in our region to encourage or improve energy data access, and we work with large commercial and multifamily building owners to request such programs. We help make the case for why monthly whole-building energy data access should be a standard and basic customer service offering for the commercial and multifamily sector. In particular, we advocate for data access that has:
- Clear, user-friendly instructions for accessing the data online;
- A standard data format;
- Automated transfer of whole building data directly into benchmarking tools, such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, via web services, significantly reducing administrative burdens for both utilities and building owners;
- An aggregation threshold (such as three units and above) where individual tenant consent is not required, and standard electronic forms when tenant authorization is needed (such as in buildings with three units or fewer);
- Continual access (e.g. no need to resubmit forms yearly); and
- Recognition of green lease agreements that already allow sharing energy usage with building owners.
- Get in touch with SWEEP for advice launching a whole-building data access program, for learning about best practices for data access, or for working with your utility to obtain energy data.
- Energy data is a key component of benchmarking and transparency programs or ordinances. See our Benchmarking and Transparency page for more info.