Case Study: Event Network

Event Network is a full-service, third-party retail sales operator for entertainment and cultural centers, including aquariums, zoos, museums, gardens, historic sites and other tourist attractions. Through its store operations, Event Network helps to shape their nonprofit clients' messaging and public behavior around conservation and sustainability. Internally, Event Network is taking steps toward more sustainable purchasing and operations in its day-to-day business activities. From sustainable product sourcing and improving the energy efficiency in store environments to greening operations in its San Diego headquarters, Event Network is constantly improving its business approach through their own "Sustainability Ecosystem.”

Energy Savings Goals

Event Network improved its energy performance by installing new HVAC control software and adjusting operating schedules.

In 2016, Event Network evaluated energy usage at its headquarters in San Diego to look for energy- and cost-saving opportunities even though the facility is LEED® Gold for Interior Design and Construction. As a result, they set even more aggressive goals to reduce energy consumption. By upgrading control software on mechanical equipment and adjusting the schedules of equipment and lighting, they reduced energy usage by approximately 25 percent in 2017.

While Event Network made significant energy savings, staff realized that a more holistic approach to understanding its headquarters building's energy use would be worthwhile. Michelle Greco, Event Network's construction and facilities manager, heard about the San Diego Regional Energy Partnership's Benchmarking Coach Program and contacted program staff to learn about how to get started, with the aim to further reduce Event Network's utility bills and explore solar, energy storage and electrical vehicle technologies.

Benchmarking Coach Experience

Review of Benchmarking Data

If Benchmarking Coach Program participants have already started tracking their building consumption, the first thing a coach will do is review existing data and assist participants with correcting any identifiable errors.

Event Network benchmarks its energy consumption data using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®.

Event Network shares its over 35,000-square-foot headquarters building, constructed in 1983, with a data center. Although Event Network was already using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® to benchmark the facility's energy consumption, Greco was discouraged by the low ENERGY STAR score the building received. However, when she met with a benchmarking coach, she learned more about improving the building's score by updating several items in Portfolio Manager, including changing the property from a single building to a tenant space and revising property use details, such as gross floor area, parking square footage and operating hours. These data corrections resulted in increasing the building's ENERGY STAR score by 15 points (on a scale of 0 to 100).

Energy Bill Analysis

Program participants can request a benchmarking coach assist in reviewing a recent utility bill to ensure that data is entered accurately in Portfolio Manager, as well as to look for potential energy-saving opportunities warranting further investigation.

To ensure that accurate energy data was added to Portfolio Manager, the benchmarking coach reviewed Event Network's most recent utility bills. The coach noted high energy demand charges and suggested that Event Network take advantage of Portfolio Manager's feature that allows users to track peak electric demand (kilowatts) as well as electric consumption (kilowatt-hours). The coach also found that Event Network could realize significant cost-savings by installing solar photovoltaic and energy storage systems to offset on-peak demand charges. Greco and the benchmarking coach reviewed interval data and identified that a chiller for the whole building was turning on very early in the morning seven days a week when the IT team arrived.

Customized Referrals

All benchmarking coach participants receive a list of tailored referrals to relevant programs, trainings and rebate and incentive opportunities based on individual business needs.

After the meeting with Event Network, the benchmarking coach followed up with a list of customized referrals for programs, rebates, incentives and additional training information. Referrals included:

Event Network's Next Steps

Event Network completed a LED lighting retrofit in September 2017.

In September 2017, Event Network completed a LED lighting retrofit that raised its tenant space's ENERGY STAR score by 4 points. Event Network also is planning to pursue the following actions to further improve its energy efficiency.

      • Adding a small, dedicated HVAC unit for to reduce energy use by cooling only IT space in the early morning hours
      • Reducing phantom plug load by replacing desktop uninterruptable power supplies with surge protectors and deploying software to provide global sleep and power settings for computing equipment
      • Engaging the data center tenant in obtaining the information required to benchmark the entire building

Because Event Network currently can benchmark only its own building space, they are looking into if their building with office and data center space would qualify for certification through ENERGY STAR's Tenant Space program. While the specific criteria for this new recognition are undergoing development, official recognition as an "ENERGY STAR Tenant Space" will be available to businesses that verify taking five key actions to drive energy efficiency: estimate energy use, evaluate meter energy use, light the space efficiently, use efficient equipment and share data.


“I first learned of benchmarking at an SDG&E Energy Innovation Center seminar. Over the past few months, our company's energy initiatives have been expedited because of the services and referrals the Benchmarking Coach Program offers. To augment our LEED Gold building, we are striving toward being ENERGY STAR certified, as well as earning Platinum certification under LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance. The knowledge base that the benchmarking coach holds is invaluable."

“I could not have navigated Portfolio Manager without the benchmarking coach Program, nor would I have been introduced to the City of San Diego’s Green Business Network, which will be performing a desktop building audit at no charge. Event Network also is proud to be participating in ENERGY STAR’s Tenant Space pilot benchmarking recognition program—an opportunity we would have missed had the benchmarking coach not encouraged us to take that step.” – Michelle Greco, construction & facilities manager, Event Network

Last updated November 2017

This is a project of the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, which is partially funded by California utility customers and administered by San Diego Gas & Electric® (SDG&E) under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The Center for Sustainable Energy® is a member of the collaborative. Trademarks are property of their respective owners.