Benchmarking Your Building or Facilities

Competition is fun and what gets measured gets done. So I am a natural advocate for the Energy Star process. Of course this star aligned with our pursuit of LEED certification gave us extra impetus to pursue the threshold score of 69. San Francisco as a city also found enough merit in the program to require it as well with an ordinance implanted this year. So even if you aren’t as excited as we are, it is becoming a fundamental.


I found that establishing a baseline carefully gave context to the projects we did in a way that simple ROI or other financial measures were lacking. The database is probably not perfect, but it has been normalized and refined now for about fifteen years and continues to evolve. I had a chat with some non-believers the other day who were arguing its frailties. They had the opinion that the ISO process was more rigorous and better designed, and it may be, but it lacks the name recognition of one of the most widely known logos in the world. For my money I would rather help Energy Star evolve than put effort into a system that is not as widely accepted. By the way our IFMA organization supports it too.

Intercontinental Hotel San Francisco

So, today when I make my business case for energy saving projects I get to justify them with LEED, ROI, and Energy Star. We spent around a half million dollars on our way to 87 on the Energy Star scale and we are cash positive from the effort. Our competitors spend 3.5 to 4.5% of revenues on energy, we spend 1.8%. These are found profits that equal up to seven top line dollars in our business. If energy savings were dollars in this hotel I would have sold five million dollars of business while simply operating the facility more efficiently.

By the way we don’t make you sacrifice any luxury or comfort to achieve this either. Of course we invite you to join our efforts if you choose to but if you don’t that’s ok we do it anyway and have actually improved our guests satisfaction levels. So now we enjoy an 87 rating and are investing in technologies that our eQuest modeling tells us should get us into the low 90’s. These technologies have the longest ROI yet but because we have a track record for proof of savings the funding is there! I nearly forgot to mention that our employees rate our environmental achievements more highly that any other category in our opinion surveys. Is that a “Triple bottom line” or what?

Harry Hobbs, CFM

Harry Hobbs CFM

Director of Engineering

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