News Brief

Public Energy Benchmarking Causes Embarrassment in U.K.

Daniel Libeskind's Imperial War Museum North, completed in 2002, received the lowest possible energy grade in a review of public buildings in the UK.

Photo: Imperial War Museum North
An October 2, 2008, story in the

Guardian publicized poor energy ratings from government-authorized assessors for several high-profile public buildings in the U.K., one day after a law took effect that requires public buildings over 1,000 m2 (11,000 ft2) to display their energy and carbon usage. The Palace of Westminster and the Bank of England both scored a “G” on the A-to-G scale. Several new and supposedly efficient buildings also fared poorly, including the Foster + Partners-designed London City Hall, which earned an “E.” The average for the 3,200 buildings assessed was “D,” and less than 1% achieved an “A” rating. Building performance expert Bill Bordass applauds the public scrutiny but cautions that these scores reflect, in part, weaknesses in the rating system itself. “The system was introduced hastily, and the technique, the benchmarks, and the assessor skills all need to evolve,” he told

EBN. In particular, Bordass noted, the benchmarking system makes it difficult to adjust a building’s score based on special factors such as energy-intensive activities, high occupant density, or long operating hours. Bordass predicted that building managers would respond to their poor scores both by tuning up their performance and by taking steps to properly document the reasons that they use more energy. “We really need to let the system evolve for a year or two” before reading too much into the scores, he suggested.

Published October 29, 2008

Malin, N. (2008, October 29). Public Energy Benchmarking Causes Embarrassment in U.K.. Retrieved from

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