Can upgrades to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Portfolio Manager tool help make commercial buildings at least 20 percent more efficient by 2020? That's the goal, according to the agency, who recently updated the online tool with a more user-friendly interface, enhanced data sharing capabilities, better reporting, and the ability to manage buildings through their lifecycle from design through occupancy. Custom tabs now let users plan and set goals for current and future projects, and data entry has been made easier.

Will the upgrades help more buildings curb their energy use? Yes, according to the EPA. "You can't manage what you don't measure," says Janet McCabe, principal deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. "The new 'turbo-charged' Portfolio Manager makes it easier than ever for building owners and managers to make strategic business decisions that are good for the environment and good for the bottom line." The EPA reports that buildings benchmarked consistently over a three-year period logged an average energy use reduction of 2.4 percent each year.

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