If increasing sustainability (and cost savings!) is on your radar, the ENERGY STAR Commercial Building Program should be too. This voluntary U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program has helped more than 200,000 buildings, representing 24 billion square feet of floor space, benchmark their sustainability.

Not only does this benchmarking give you an idea of how your buildings stack up against others when it comes to energy performance right now, it offers annual assessment to track how well you’re doing in the long run.

Here’s what you need to know. ENERGY STAR’s program revolves around its Portfolio Manager, which tracks more than 150 metrics. You can enter your building operation characteristics and details of your utility bills, and the program will give you a score between one and 100 that indicates how your building compares to similar ones. A score of 50 means your building is an average performer. A score of 75 or above means you are eligible for ENERGY STAR certification, which is completed annually and must be verified by an engineer or architect. There’s no cost to participate in the ENERGY STAR Commercial Building Program, but there may be fees associated with that external verification.

Scoring is available for a range of buildings including retail stores, offices, warehouses, banks, hospitals, hotels, churches, schools and more. ENERGY STAR says these categories cover more than 50% of commercial buildings. Aside from ENERGY STAR scoring, the EPA also offers a water scoring system for multi-family buildings with 20-plus units. Also nice to know: Portfolio Manager helps you calculate your building’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Why should I participate?

  • Using the Portfolio Manager will help you establish an efficiency baseline, plus help you track your progress over time.
  • You will drive cost savings while reducing your carbon footprint. ENERGY STAR says that certified buildings use 40% less energy than national stock.
  • ENERGY STAR certification positively impacts property value, and commands higher lease rates.
  • An ENERGY STAR score can be used in ESG reporting, or as part of GRESB or SASB benchmarking.
  • Many state and local governments use ENERGY STAR scores for benchmarking commercial properties. If you want to lease to the federal government, ENERGY STAR certification is required.

Want to get started? Understand the data you’ll need to collect, and check out material further explaining Portfolio Manager with ENERGY STAR’s benchmarking starter kit, available here.

 

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