View Entire PIM

checkEstablish a baseline for current energy consumption.

All PIM content was independently developed and reviewed to be vendor-, product-, and service provider-neutral.


Information collected by measuring a building’s energy performance for a minimum of 12 months (36 months preferred) will establish a baseline for energy consumption. This baseline can serve as a starting point for setting energy efficiency improvement goals as well as a comparison point for evaluating future efforts and trending overall performance.

Note: If a facility is submetered, a baseline can be developed for each separately submetered area in addition to the whole-building baseline.

  • Project Talking Points

    • Establishing a baseline will help you understand how energy expenditures contribute to operating costs.
    • High-performing facilities can be identified for recognition and replicable practices.
    • Poor-performing facilities can be prioritized for immediate improvement.
    • Historical energy use trends can be used as a context for future actions and decisions.
    • Energy use can be categorized by fuel type, operating division, facility, product line, end use, and other factors.
    • The information gathered can be used to establish a threshold for initiating retrocommissioning activities and rewarding good performance.
    • Submetering and circuit-level metering can provide specific data about the effects of changes on particular systems and end uses. 
  • Triple Bottom Line Benefits

    • Cost benefits: Reducing costs begins with understanding how energy expenditures contribute to operating costs. Many facilities have documented energy consumption reductions in the range of 20 to 30 percent from baseline.
    • Environmental benefits: Establishing a baseline is an important first step toward addressing and reducing energy consumption in a facility. The ENERGY STAR database allows facilities to track changes in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the benchmarking base year. Therefore, continuing the benchmarking effort documents the environmental impact of your energy management efforts. 
    • Social benefits: Employee and community engagement in efforts to reduce energy consumption is often improved when data, information, goals, and targets are provided. Thus, benchmarking is crucial to that process. 
  • Commissioning Connections

    The ASHE Health Facility Commissioning Guidelines and accompanying Health Facility Commissioning Handbook are good information sources for undertaking this performance improvement measure. In both the guidelines and handbook, see the following sections:

    • Chapter 4 Transition to Operational Sustainability – Many health care facilities have significantly reduced maintenance staffing levels and budgets in recent years. Facility managers must depend on technology to automatically detect inefficient operation and provide guidance for optimizing operation.
      • 4.1.1 The Health Facility Commissioning Authority (HFCxA) should facilitate development of O&M dashboards for key equipment and systems.
      • 4.3 Facilitate Implementation of HVAC Control System Trends – Trends provide critical feedback on space conditions and energy use. It is vitally important for O&M personnel to have this data to help them manage the facility and minimize energy costs.
    • Chapter 5 Post-occupancy and Warranty Phase
      • 5.1 Review Trend Data – When the facility is occupied and the systems are subjected to actual load conditions, trends provide the facility manager with critical data that he or she can use to optimize system operations for both building comfort and energy management.
      • 5.2 Measure and Verify Actual Energy Performance – establish a Portfolio Manager account on the EPA ENERGY STAR website and enter the required building information, which includes floor areas, parking decks, data centers, pools, and bed count.
      • 5.3 Conduct Post occupancy Performance Tests – the HFCxA must coordinate required seasonal or deferred testing and follow up noted deficiencies until corrections are made.
      • 5.5 Benchmark Energy Performance – After the building has been in service for a year, the actual energy efficiency of the building is benchmarked by the owner or the HFCxA. The benchmarking process is based on actual energy and water consumption and costs as compared to the EPA target.
    • Chapter 6 Retrocommissioning
      • 6.1.2 (2) – Obtain 24 months of natural gas, water, and electricity bills and enter them into the Portfolio Manager account. 
      • 6.1.2 (4) – Establish a target Energy Star rating for the facility.
      • 6.1.2 (10) – Conduct a detailed survey of the facility with a focus on the mechanical rooms, electrical rooms, and energy-consuming equipment and systems (water chillers, boilers, water heaters, air-handling units, exhaust fans, and pumps).
      • 6.1.2 (20) – Compare actual equipment performance to manufacturer’s rated performance data. Identify and document discrepancies.
      • 6.1.3 Striving for Continuous Commissioning – O&M staff can use an electronic commissioning tool that interfaces with the automatic temperature control system to continuously identify problems and dispatch maintenance personnel. The retrocommissioning process should lead toward the implementation of a continuous commissioning effort that is appropriate for the specific facility.
  • Purchasing Considerations

    If you have suggestions for purchasing considerations, or suggested sample contract language for any product or contracted service, please participate in the discussion below.

  • How-To

    1. Determine who's on the team. This can include the building engineer, facility manager, building automation system (BAS) manger, and commissioning agent.
    2. Gather at least 12 months (36 months, if possible) of monthly energy data from utility bills (e.g. electricity, natural gas, etc.). This data should be readily available from the utility.
    3. Analyze monthly utility bills to identify overall trends, seasonal fluctuations, and unexplained changes in energy use.
      • An easy way to analyze trends and discover unexplained changes in utility consumption is to use a spreadsheet to track a rolling 12-month average of monthly utility consumption and demand. This method helps screen out seasonal variation and identify underlying energy consumption or demand increases.
      • Conversion to units per square foot will help to recognize disparities caused by changes in a building’s square footage. Use the ENERGY STAR methodology for calculating square footage to ensure that data entered in the system is comparable, a necessity for achieving accurate benchmark rating comparisons.
    4. Create an account with EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. For help getting started, use the following resources:
    5. Establish a baseline year (or average of several years).
    6. Enter utility data into EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to benchmark energy consumption with comparable facilities. To understand the data you need to gather, you can find the definitions for each field name in Portfolio Manager in this spreadsheet.
    7. Note your facility’s baseline ENERGY STAR score. If it is greater than 50, your facility’s energy systems are currently more efficient than half the similar facilities in the United States. If the score is 75 or higher, your facility falls into the top 25 percent of energy-efficient hospitals in the United States and is eligible to receive an ENERGY STAR label. The label is valid for one year and requires third-party validation of performance. This process can be performed every year if a facility qualifies, and the program covers hospitals, laundries, garages, data centers, health care campuses, and medical office buildings. For additional information about how to apply for the ENERGY STAR label, visit
    8. Trend and track ENERGY STAR scores and energy use over time to demonstrate improvements. 
    9. Use the Roadmap’s target-setting Energy Reduction Tool to help set goals based on your baseline and benchmark data.
    10. Consider the use of submetering and circuit-level metering to identify and track specific end users and reductions.
    11. Consider using the free, data visualization dashboard offered through ASHE's Energy to Care program to track energy progress. You can also start a "regional challenge" through the Energy to Care program to compare data and trends with other health care systems or facilities in your area.
  • Tools

  • Case Studies

    Gunderson Lutheran Health System

    • Key Points
      • The facility faced a $500,000 estimated annual increase in health system’s electricity and natural gas bill if annual price increases hold constant.
      • Analyzed 10+ years of utility bills to establish the health system’s energy baseline.
      • Calculated total reductions in energy consumption including kilowatt hours per year and cubic feet of natural gas per year.

    Saint Francis Care

    • Key Points
      • Awarded Energy Star label every year since 2003.
      • Continuous improvement in energy efficiency linked to monitoring the difference between baseline energy use and current use.

    Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital

    • Key Points
      • Used Energy Star Portfolio Manager to track annual energy use.
      • Calculating an energy baseline at the hospital supported its health system’s efforts to adhere to the CERES (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies) principles for environmental stewardship.

    Tri-City Medical Center

    • Key Point
      • Used Energy Star Portfolio Manager to compare energy use against their own baseline and against other hospitals of similar size. 
  • Regulations, Codes and Standards, Policies

  • Cross References: LEED

    • LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations + Maintenance
      • Energy & Atmosphere Prerequisite 2: Minimum Energy Efficiency Performance
        • Establish the minimum level of operating energy efficiency performance by achieving an energy performance rating of at least 69 using the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool; or, demonstrate energy efficiency at least 19 percent better than average following the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Operations & Maintenance; or use the alternative method described in the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Operations & Maintenance AND have energy meters that measure energy use.
      • Energy & Atmosphere Credit 1: Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance
        • Achieve increasing levels of operating energy performance relative to typical buildings of similar type utilizing any of the methods described in Energy & Atmosphere Prerequisite 2.Energy & Atmosphere Credit 3.1: Performance Measurement – Building Automation System, utilize a computer-based BAS that monitors and controls major building systems.
      • Energy & Atmosphere Credit 3.2: Performance Measurement – System Level Metering
        • Breakdown the building’s energy use for major mechanical systems and other significant energy end-use application individually responsible for 10 percent or more of the building’s total consumption.
    • LEED for Healthcare: New Construction and Major Renovations
      • Energy & Atmosphere Prerequisite 2: Minimum Energy Efficiency Performance
        • Establish the minimum level of energy efficiency for the proposed building and systems by a whole building energy simulation; or a prescriptive compliance path utilizing the ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guide (AEDG) for Small Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities; or a prescriptive compliance path complying with ASHRAE Standard 90.1.
      • Energy & Atmosphere Credit 1: Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance
        • Achieve increasing levels of energy performance beyond the prerequisite standard to reduce energy use.
      • Energy & Atmosphere Credit 5: Measurement and Verification
        • Develop a Measurement and Verification plan by incorporating the Calibrated Simulation method; or the Energy Conservation Measure Isolation as specified in the International Performance Measurement & Verification Protocol Volume III. 
  • Cross References: GGHC

  • PIM Synergies

  • Education Resources

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ENERGY STAR Tools:

     Energy UniversityEnergy University Courses

    The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) has approved the courses below for continuing education credits. ASHE issues credits in quarter-hour increments, and a total of 10 contact hours equals 1 continuing education credit.

    Measuring and Benchmarking Energy Performance
    Measurement and benchmarking appear in two key stages in an efficiency improvement cycle. Before starting an improvement program, measurement and benchmarking helps determine where and to what degree energy is wasted. It also provides a baseline for future comparison. Measurement during the monitoring stage helps identify deviations that need to be corrected, in order to sustain savings. In this course, we'll discuss energy accounting, and examine some of the concepts and methods involved in energy measurement and benchmarking. We'll also explore the components of a utility bill, and provide benchmarking examples to verify charges
    ASHE has approved this course for .75 contact hour.

    Measurement and Verification: Including IPMVP

    Measurement and verification can be defined as the process of measurement to determine the actual savings created by an energy management program or energy conservation improvements. The purpose of this course is to explore the concept of measurement and verification, including the role of guidelines such as IPMVP
    ASHE has approved this course for .50 contact hour.


  • More Resources

  • PIM Descriptors


    Level: Beginner

    Category List:

    • Measurement and Reporting
    • Strategic Operations

    PIM Attributes:

    • Optimize Operations
    • Repair or Optimize Existing Systems (fix what you have)

    Improvement Type:

    • Commission/Retro-Commission
    • Retrofit/Renovations
    • New Buildings
    • Operations and Maintenance


    • Engineering/Facilities Management
  • Interested in underwriting this PIM? Contact us to find out how!


  1. Comment, and please add information, tools, or additional resources you think should be added to the PIM.
  2. Write a case study or a PIM to contribute to the Roadmap (links are to instructions).

Home About Topics Drivers Strategies Implementation Resources Terms of Use Privacy Policy
American Hospital Association | 155 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 400 | Chicago, Illinois 60606 | (312) 422-3000
©2010-2015 by the American Hospital Association. All rights reserved.