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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Benchmarking CO2 Reduction in Your Town

Durham, New Hampshire. Photo by Olivier Aumage. CC-BY-SA-2.0-fr, Wikimedia Commons.

Durham, New Hampshire. Photo by Olivier Aumage. CC-BY-SA-2.0-fr, Wikimedia Commons.

By Green Energy Times Staff

What do Durham, Hollis, and Rye, New Hampshire share with New York City, Seattle, and Boston? One answer is that all these communities use the same system to measure and manage the energy usage in their buildings.

Local Energy Solutions (LES) is a work group that was founded to provide support for energy committees, municipalities, and other governmental organizations in New Hampshire on energy and efficiency. LES makes a number of good points at its web site, one of which is the well-known adage, “The cheapest, cleanest energy is the energy you do not use!” LES aims to reduce consumption of fossil fuels in the state 50% below 2005 levels by 2025. To that end, it provides a number of services in the state.

LES set up an especially interesting program, Benchmark NH, in 2011. A visit to its page at the LES site brings us to a somewhat less-known adage, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure!” With that observation, LES launches into a set of easy steps that anyone can use to benchmark the energy use of just about anything.

This, of course, is intended to support the people of New Hampshire. For those who live elsewhere, however, there is no reason to despair. The LES program gives guidance to all who visit on how to set up use of a benchmarking system that is used all over the country, and whose use has spread to other countries, as well. It uses the Energy Star Portfolio Manager software, which will help not only measuring and assessing renewable energy and efficiency projects, but also prioritizing goals and the steps to get to them.

The software is available for free at the Energy Star web site. It is available to anyone who wants to use it. Once an account is set up, which is quite easy, the system can be used to manage energy and water use in any number of buildings. Buildings can be compared to others of the same class in a national database.

The Energy Star Portfolio Manager is widely used for municipalities. It is used in New York, Seattle, and Boston because they have benchmarking laws. It is also used by the Government of Canada as a platform for their national energy benchmarking program for existing buildings. Small users are just as welcome as great cities to benefit from this tool.

The Local Energy Solutions web site can be visited at www.nhenergy.org.

The Energy Star Portfolio Manager is available at http://bit.ly/energy-star-portfolio-manager.

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