Benchmarking for Success

August 2018

Success is a comparison of how well you are doing against predetermined targets.

A doctor’s office may consider wait time an important indicator and compare their office wait time to an industry standard.  Beating the industry average may be viewed as a way to improve customer service.

For a condo corporation, selecting the right targets and meeting your goals is a critical part of success.  These targets can be many and may relate to financial performance, waste reduction, reserve fund targets, and implementation of major projects on time and within budget.

Bill 135 is Ontario legislation that will require hundreds of Ontario buildings to begin reporting energy and water use data.  For condo corporations required to report energy and water use data, this will provide further evidence of which condo corporations utilize energy and water in an efficient manner.  Those that waste energy and water will be easier to identify.  It will be harder for condo corporations to explain away poor performance by claiming their building is “unique” in some way or by developing methods to hide poor performance.

Energy usage is important because buildings account for more than 60% of greenhouse gas production.  This gas traps heat in the atmosphere and is believed to impact on global warming.

Boston is one city that requires larger commercial and residential buildings to report their energy and water usage to the city.  This information is then made available to the public.  The city analyzes this data, compares buildings against each other and enacts energy-efficient improvements with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  All residential buildings with 35 or more units are required to participate in this reporting.  This data is being used by cities and regulators, along with investors who want to know the environmental performance level of their investments.

In New York City, which has required benchmarking for much longer, buildings are no longer content with just benchmarking.  They are committing to reductions in energy and water usage.  Other US cities with benchmarking laws include Chicago and Philadelphia.  State-wide benchmarking laws have been implemented in Vermont and Maine.

In the USA, meeting energy efficiency standards as proven through benchmarking can result in lower mortgage and loan rates.  Buildings report their energy and water use through an online reporting application.  Benchmarking helps buildings to know when they are spending too much on outdated HVAC or other systems, or when window replacement becomes justified through unnecessary energy expenditures.

Benchmarking allows a condo corporation to gather information necessary to better manage the condo corporation.  It is a process that should be adopted by condo corporations for all  major expenditures.