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28 April, 2021

 If you are serious about improving your company’s sustainability – and reaping all the associated cost-savings – you need to get serious about benchmarking. At Energy CX, we’re big fans of the insight and goal-setting assistance a good sustainability benchmarking program can provide. There are several well-recognized players in the commercial real estate sector, including:

- The ENERGY STAR Commercial Buildings Program, which provides benchmarking for a variety of commercial buildings, including retail stores, offices, warehouses and more. Participants enter their building data into a program that tracks more than 150 metrics, and produces a score between one and 100. A score over 75 mean you’re eligible for ENERGY STAR certification, which is completed annually and must be verified by a professional engineer or architect.

- You are likely familiar with LEED certification for new builds, but the organization offers benchmarking for existing buildings, as well. Its Operations & Maintenance certification program measures – and helps drive efficiencies in – a building’s energy, water and natural resource use. You must recertify at least once every five years, or as frequently as annually.

- GRESB is the gold standard benchmarking tool for the ESG (environmental, social and governance) profile for commercial real estate. This annual assessment probes a company’s energy and water efficiency, waste management, and green building standards, as well as employee satisfaction, training and development, safety, diversity and governance quality. GRESB gives participants an annual score, as well as a rating on a 5-star system.

Are they worth your while? First, look at the benefits of improving sustainability: high-performing companies are more resilient, attractive to investors and give you a competitive advantage. Benchmarking will guide that. Here’s how:

See where you are, and where you need to go. Understanding where you are now is the key to making a plan to progress. Benchmarking helps establish a baseline of where you stand: it will reveal areas where you are strong, but also where there’s room for improvement. You can move forward with a data-backed and effective plan of action.

Get an independent opinion. It’s pretty difficult to get a full view of something when you’re just looking at it from inside. Benchmarking give you the ability to get an outside, independent opinion, which ultimately, will help you understand your sustainability practices on a broader level.

See how you stack up. Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing wrong with comparing yourself to your neighbors. If you want the competitive advantage sustainability provides, it’s best to understand just how you are performing in relation to industry counterparts.

Long-term motivation. Most of the popular sustainability benchmarking tools aren’t one-offs. They are exercises you complete regularly, over time. Setting an ongoing benchmarking schedule helps you avoid complacency – and enables the company mindset that fosters continuous improvement.

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