Correcting Misperceptions About Energy Star
What misperceptions do you think still remain about Energy Star?
Some organizations feel like the ENERGY STAR program has nothing to offer them if their buildings aren’t able to receive a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score and ENERGY STAR certification. And others mistakenly believe that ENERGY STAR is Portfolio Manager, and nothing else. However, ENERGY STAR is about much more than Portfolio Manager, benchmarking, the ENERGY STAR score, and certification.
Through the ENERGY STAR program, EPA offers a proven approach to complete energy management (called the Guidelines to Energy Management) that can be applied at the individual building or the portfolio level. And we provide a wide array of free resources to help buildings owners and managers save energy, whether they are new to the topic or have been doing it for years. Building owners and managers can use the Building Upgrade Value Calculator and Cash Flow Opportunity Calculators to assess savings potential for projects. They can engage their employees and tenants in their energy-saving efforts by leveraging our unique “Bring Your Green to Work” suite of animated tools, quizzes, and tips. Or they can get everyone working together by setting up their own internal energy-saving competition, making energy efficiency fun and engaging for everyone in a building. And if they could use some outside help, we have a network of nearly 1,000 ENERGY STAR Service and Product Provider Partners – companies offering energy efficiency services and products who are knowledgeable about ENERGY STAR.
In terms of Portfolio Manager and the ENERGY STAR score, it’s important to remember that every building can use Portfolio Manager. In fact, the largest growth in the use of Portfolio Manager in recent years has been for buildings that can’t get an ENERGY STAR score or certification. They’re coming to ENERGY STAR because they still get access to more than 100 different metrics through Portfolio Manager. They can use these metrics to track key performance indicators like energy use and costs, water use and costs, and greenhouse gas emissions. And by this time next year, they’ll also be able to track solid waste disposal and costs. These buildings can also earn recognition, even though they aren’t eligible for ENERGY STAR certification. For example, the annual “Battle of the Buildings” competition was inspired by NBC’s hit television show The Biggest Loser, and recognizes reductions in energy use intensity. Top finishers in each category are recognized by EPA every year, as well as any building that reduces its energy use by 20 percent or more.
Answers provided by Lauren Hodges, director of communications, ENERGY STAR for Commercial Buildings & Industrial Plants, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.