Our Resolution: Save Energy & Money with the 25×20 Campaign

By Johanna Schweiss, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter

Businesses, schools, municipalities, institutions, and houses of worship in the St. Louis region have stepped up to show their commitment to the environment and to their bottom line. How? By taking the 25×20 pledge to benchmark building energy use. Benchmarking is the process of measuring how much energy a building consumes over time, and comparing that performance to the past and to other comparable buildings.

The 25×20 Campaign’s goal is to reduce regional building energy consumption by 25% by the year 2020. This goal aligns with the City of St. Louis greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. The High Performance Building Initiative, coordinated by the St. Louis Regional Chamber and U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter, launched the campaign in January of 2014, and since that time a diverse set of building owners have jumped on board.

Participants in the 25×20 campaign range from operators of one building, such as Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ferguson and the Mid-County YMCA, to some of the region’s largest institutions and most recognizable names, like the Cardinals, Express Scripts, and Saint Louis University.

SLU joined the 25×20 campaign in August, pledging to benchmark the energy consumed by their 134 buildings. These buildings range from very recently completed projects to buildings over 120 years in age, and include residence halls, academic halls, sports arenas and research facilities.

Brandon Verhoff, Director of Sustainability and Benchmarking for the Division of Facilities Services, said of the campaign “Saint Louis University is devoted to decreasing energy usage on campus. It will take the entire University to embrace and support reduction efforts and we look forward to partnering with our SLU community to make a real difference.”

And benchmarking has been shown to make a difference! According to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online energy and water benchmarking tool, buildings that benchmark their energy use for three years see an average energy savings of 7%. Energy benchmarking is the first step to saving energy and saving money. As the saying goes, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

Now you can explore an interactive map featuring all buildings that have taken the pledge to benchmark on the Green Building Information Gateway (GBIG), a platform that connects people to data and insights about the green aspects of our built environment.
Users can browse green building projects like LEED registration and certification, ENERGY STAR certification, Green Ribbon Schools, and more, all over the world!
As we all consider our resolutions for 2015, what better action is there to commit to? Benchmarking building energy use at your office, school, local government or house of worship has the potential to reduce energy consumption, reduce costs, and reduce environmental impacts!

To take the pledge and start benchmarking, and to explore the 25×20 participants on GBIG, visit www.25×20.org.