Cincinnati Green Business Council Releases Energy Benchmarking Toolkit

The Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council (Green Business Council) has released its Energy Benchmarking Toolkit, a guide to help small- and medium-sized businesses reduce energy expenses at their facilities and improve environmental performance.

“Benchmarking a building’s energy performance is the first step toward improving its energy efficiency,” says Scott Hassell, sustainability program manager, Fifth Third Bank. “When the diverse members of the Green Business Council—which span banking, retail, manufacturing, professional services and more—realized we were using the same strategies, free software and regional resources to improve our facilities, we decided to help the region’s small and medium-size businesses use the same tools to save money, become more competitive and improve our regional environment.”

The Energy Benchmarking Toolkit explains benchmarking and its benefits and introduces the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free web-based energy management tool that helps track and assess energy and water consumption for facilities. By identifying the relative energy performance of its buildings, organizations can develop strategies and allocate resources to under-performing buildings. The Toolkit also provides information about local, state and federal incentives and rebates that help organizations implement energy efficiency projects, such as lighting retrofits or HVAC upgrades.

The toolkit also explains that high-performing facilities can qualify for ENERGY STAR certification, earning the prestigious ENERGY STAR label for their building. In 2012 the EPA ranked Cincinnati 13th among U.S. cities for its number of ENERGY STAR-certified buildings, with 137 buildings totaling 21.1 million square feet of space.

“We would love to see Greater Cincinnati move up in the ranking of cities with the most energy efficient buildings, turning the Queen City into the Green City ,” says Chad Edwards, principal, Emersion Design. “Green Business Council members have found the free Portfolio Manager to be an extremely effective tool for guiding energy efficiency efforts and we are excited to share the Toolkit with other businesses,” says Lisa O’Brien, senior vice president and director of environmental affairs, U.S. Bank. “Whether an organization’s goal is to save money, drive continuous improvement or get a building ENERGY STAR-certified, the Toolkit is the place to start.”

The Energy Benchmarking Toolkit joins the Green Business Council’s Workplace Composting Toolkit as resources to help Greater Cincinnati businesses become more sustainable. Download the Green Business Council’s Toolkits from the organization’s website.

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