ENERGY STAR Updates Sustainable Investment Group

ENERGY STAR Updates

July 27, 2017

Scores to Drop in August of 2018

Have you ever noticed the little blue ENERGY STAR label on your appliances at home or on the exterior of the building you work in?  Did you know that this label is worth billions and billions of dollars?   Yep, the ENERGY STAR program has saved individuals, homes, and buildings billions of dollars in energy costs over the last 15 or so years.

ENERGY STAR Updates - energy star logo in blue - cyan energy star logo

ENERGY STAR is designed for the universal purpose of identifying opportunities to save energy.  Since its creation by the EPA in 1992, ENERGY STAR’s label is present in over 70 product categories. Also, more than 1.6 million residential homes and 25,000 commercial buildings have been certified.  Financially, the label has saved over $362 billion on utility bills for individuals and businesses.  EPA’s ENERGY STAR is the most flourishing voluntary energy efficiency initiative in history.[i]

For commercial buildings, in addition to enormous long-term savings in energy emissions and energy costs, the ENERGY STAR program allows you to compare your building’s specifications to other similar buildings.  The program allows for commercial building stakeholders to differentiate themselves from less energy efficient buildings.  Considering the blue (sometimes black) ENERGY STAR label is the most widely recognized energy efficiency symbol in the world, as a business, having a publicized brand affiliation with a government-directed program will help with your building’s recognition.  Through partnerships with over 18,000 public organizations, ENERGY STAR has been able to expand and serve as a driving force for the prevalence of innovations in energy-related products.  Needless to say, for those affiliated that excel in the program, an ENERGY STAR label is a great and affordable award to earn.

Since 1992, more commercial buildings have been “going green” and finding ways to become more energy-efficient.  This increase in savings across the board is due to increased green demand, awareness, competition, and technologies.  As a result, the EPA proportionately updates energy-saving standards with this progressing movement.  These ENERGY STAR updates derive from the collected Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) data, which the EPA collects every four years.  Based on the collected data, the EPA changes standards that directly apply to ENERGY STAR scoring.  Therefore, the score for every commercial property in the program’s Portfolio Manager will change with each update. With the next update, you can expect your ENERGY STAR scores to drop.   

Current ENERGY STAR scores are based on 2003 CBECS studies.  The next score update will be based on 2012 CBECS studies.  The EPA has announced this change to come into effect in August of 2018.  Then, commercial buildings can expect this change will lower their ENERGY STAR scores across the board because they will be compared to more energy-efficient buildings.  Your score is a clear representation of how your building compares to other similar buildings.  For example, if you have an ENERGY STAR score of 90, it means you are in the top 10% of similar buildings (and better than 90%).  If you have a 91, you are in the top 9% (and better than 91%) of similar buildings and so forth. Next year, if you want to stay in the top 25% (which is required to earn a label/award) you may need to take measures to save energy now.

If you are new to ENERGY STAR or have an ENERGY STAR score below an 80, we would like to talk to you more about how to earn or keep your ENERGY STAR label in 2018.  Since the bar is being raised, an energy audit or retro-commissioning may be worth considering.  Not only are we and ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year that helped 207 buildings earn their ENERGY STAR labels last year, we also have a talented team of engineers that specialize in ASHRAE Level I and II energy audits as well as Retro-commissioning (RCx).  Even if you do not need an energy audit or RCx, our engineers would be happy to provide you with their free “doctor’s opinion” on low and no cost ways you can save energy.  This being the case, we hope that you don’t hesitate and reach out to us so we can take a closer look at your building.  The best piece of advice we can give any of our existing building clients is to earn an ENERGY STAR label, if possible.  This is because it is extremely valuable, extremely affordable, and extremely recognized.  The program is free to use and so is our advice!  Also, our fee to set up your score and have one of our Professional Engineers sign off on it is probably a lot less than you might think. If you would like us to take a closer look, or to find out how much it would cost to earn an ENERGY STAR label, please call Michael at 404-983-0255. Michael can answer all your questions, and/or put you in touch with our engineers who can.

Other ENERGY STAR Updates

ENERGY STAR is continuing to expand by introducing new programs for buildings to partake in.  ENERGY STAR currently has a benchmark to track water use and waste management but does not have a system to assign a score these metrics.  ENERGY STAR updates include designing a water use scoring system and waste management score similar to the current energy scoring structure.  In addition, the EPA is introducing ENERGY STAR Tenant Star which will design a score system specifically for an office space or tenant build-out.

Despite all this progress with the green movement in commercial real estate and with ENERGY STAR, there is still an overarching concern for the EPA under the current Presidential Administration. Fortunately, there is no need to worry.  If the current administration cuts the EPA’s budget, it will still take many years for the agency to dissolve.  Worst case scenario, if the EPA did get cut, the ENERGY STAR label will most likely be bought by a private entity.  ENERGY STAR is far too valuable to go away.

Top 5 Reasons To Get ENERGY STAR Certification For Your Building Or Plant

About SIG

Sustainable Investment Group (SIG) has helped 207 buildings with ENERGY STAR in 2016, has benchmarked and provided technical services (energy audits and RCx) for over 50 million square feet of commercial real estate , and has received the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award two years in-a-row.  SIG can assist in achieving your commercial building’s ENERGY STAR label, LEED certification, and/or energy-efficiency initiatives.  Please reach out to us at michaelc@sigearth.com or 404-983-0255, and we can help you start improving your building today.