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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, PIO, City of Berkeley, (510) 981-7008

Benchmarking Awards for Energy Smart Buildings

Berkeley, California (Monday, November 19, 2012) - What do a Berkeley commercial developer, a small theater and an urban school district have in common? They were all recognized for their pioneering efforts to track their energy use. 

Wareham Development, The Ashby Stage and the Berkeley Unified School District are just a few of the 26 government, non-profit and commercial entities that were honored on Friday, November 16 for their energy management leadership. East Bay Environmental Network (EBEN) hosted the First Annual Benchmarking Awards Program to honor energy efficiency leaders among Berkeley’s commercial and public buildings. Helen Meyer of Meyer Sound was the keynote speaker and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner presented the awards at the Zaentz Media Center (Fantasy Studios) in Berkeley.

Benchmarking is a first-step in understanding building energy use. The award honorees all used the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star® Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool. The free, online tool helps facility managers analyze their energy use relative to similar buildings in comparable climates. By documenting the energy use of the facility, building managers and tenants can also gauge the operating inefficiencies of the building and prioritize energy improvements in order to save energy and money. 

“Benchmarking building energy use sets a new standard for rating the quality of our buildings,” Assemblymember Nancy Skinner said. “Owners and lessees in New York, San Francisco, and now the City of Berkeley, will have data they can rely on just as car buyers have MPG stickers to gauge fuel efficiency.”  

This is especially important in Berkeley, where the operations of commercial buildings comprise about one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions. Local facilities, like the David Brower Center, the Berkeley Repertory, and Wareham Development use a variety of technologies to achieve significant energy savings.

“For over 35 years, we have been carefully monitoring and improving our buildings in order to minimize energy usage. This not only makes good business sense for us and for our tenants, but is an important part of being a good community member,” said Chris Barlow, Partner at Wareham. “Benchmarking is a valuable tool in the work we do as are initiatives such as the LEED certification process and the Labs 21 standards for research and development facilities.”

The awards were given on behalf of the City of Berkeley and are part of the Climate Action Plan which set bold goals for reducing energy waste and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Benchmarking energy use will also keep honorees one step ahead of the new State mandated energy disclosure law that will take effect in 2013 (California Assembly Bill 1103).

Two of the awardees, Trumer Brauerei (makers of Trumer Pilsner beer) and the Berkeley Food and Housing Project, recently retrofitted their building systems and equipment to improve energy efficiency using Federal Stimulus funds through the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The following 26 entities were recognized for their dedication to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship:

Alta Bates Summit Medical Center
Ashby Stage
Bancroft Hotel
Bayer Healthcare
Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
Berkeley City College
Berkeley Food and Housing Project
Berkeley Unified School District
Berkeley Repertory Theater
Berkwood Hedge School
Civic Center, City of Berkeley
Design Community & Environment
Double Tree Hotel

David Brower Center
Ed Roberts Campus
LJ Kruse Plumbing
Lawrence Berkeley Labs
Metro Lighting
Meyer Sound
Netivot Shalom
Trumer Brauerei
University California at Berkeley
Wareham Development
2150 Shattuck
2530 San Pablo Avenue



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