Energy Benchmarking and Auditing

Energy Benchmarking and Auditing

Energy Benchmarking and Auditing

Peer benchmarking allows large and small property owners alike to quickly determine whether or not their facilities are performing at a level that is highly efficient, wasteful, or anywhere in between. For large property owners, this data can quickly identify properties that are in need of greater attention with respect to utility use, and can be a great tool for understanding which properties will benefit the most from energy audits or retro-commissioning processes.

Energy Benchmarking is a method used to determine whether a building is using more or less energy than its peer facilities with similar occupancies, climates, and sizes. Benchmarking is done by taking a buildings total energy use (typically converted to kBtu in the US and Watts elsewhere) and dividing by the building's total area. This number is frequently referred to as the Energy Usage Intensity or EUI, is then compared to buildings of the same use type (ex. Office Space) to determine how efficiently the building is utilizing energy. Through energy benchmarking, building auditing can then be pursued more effectively when determining which buildings are inefficiently using energy.  

Harvard is currently developing energy benchmarks for each of our major building types (e.g. "office", "classroom", etc.).  More information on this process will be available in the coming months. 


While Harvard owns and maintains a number of buildings of many different use types, energy auditing is key in strategizing and determining how to reduce the University's building energy consumption. While reducing energy use reduces cost, it also helps drive reductions in the University's carbon footprint. As part of Harvard's Sustainability Plan, energy benchmarking and auditing has a major effect on reaching the goals set by the university for improving the impact campus buildings have on our environment. 

Green Building Services (GBS) in collaboration with Facilities Maintenance Operations (FMO) offers comprehensive ASHRAE Level II Energy Audit services to Harvard affiliates and departments. More details and contact information can be found on this page.

Submetering is a method used to obtain a more detailed analysis of how a building is consuming energy beyond a typical whole-building electric or gas meter. In commercial buildings, a large portion of a facility's energy use is broken up among heating, cooling, lighting, domestic hot water, and plug/process loads. Submetering allows isolation of each individual system in order to analyze how energy is used on a much deeper level than can be determined from whole-building meters alone.

Harvard is currently using submetering on an assortment of campus projects to track the actual functionality of newly installed systems and compare it with design expectations. Meters are strategically placed throughout the building by system, calibrated, and then trended over time to provide feedback to building managers and operations staff on the respective consumption for each system. This trend data is then used to pinpoint issues/malfunctions and more quickly lead to corrective actions that result in lower emissions for the building.