When you compare your building’s energy usage and efficiency with others, you get a sense of how your building is performing relative to other similar buildings. That’s really the basis for ENERGY STAR.

And you can do this with benchmarking and baselining. But what exactly do those two terms mean? Aren’t they the same? Well, no.

A benchmark is a value you can use to compare one existing commercial building to another existing commercial building. For instance, if you observe that, based on a benchmark, building A has a higher score than building B (the higher the score, the more efficient the building), you would conclude that building A is more efficient than building B.

Another metric that is used to benchmark buildings is the Energy Utilization Index, or EUI. The EUI is a BTUs per square foot per year measure of all of the energy used within the property. Electricity and gas used for the year are converted to BTUs and added together. That number is then divided by the square footage of the building to get an annualized EUI.

Next, we’ll take a look at the concept of baselining and how it relates to tracking your building’s energy performance over time.