Ever since new market data on building energy performance became available in 2016, staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program have been working to update the rating system. It’s no small task, but the end is in sight: On August 26, recalibrated statistical models that determine Energy Star scores are scheduled to be released. Most buildings will get new scores, even though their energy performance hasn’t changed. Now is the time to learn about what’s happening, why, and how to prepare.
Energy Star isn’t altering its basic approach, but with newer and better baseline data showing that buildings overall are more energy efficient, many Energy Star scores will change. Working estimates from Energy Star show that average office building scores will drop 12 points and schools 13 points, while average hotel scores will rise 1 point. These are, Energy Star is quick to point out, average changes across all buildings in the Portfolio Manager database; the impact on specific buildings will vary.
Energy Star is updating its model for a simple reason: It wants to use the newest information to ensure that scores are relevant as points of comparison. With current baseline data, a disproportionately high percentage of buildings are receiving scores above the national average.
You can take steps now to prepare for the change. One is to let stakeholders like top executives and tenants know what’s coming. You may also want to print reports showing your past Energy Star scores. That’s because the new baseline data will be used to recalculate past scores, so that you will be able to get apples-to-apples comparisons of a building’s performance over time.
You might also want to apply for Energy Star certification before July 26, 2018. Applications that hit this deadline will likely be assessed using the current scoring models, rather than updated models that go into effect August 26. Energy Star certification is good for a year, and Energy Star will not rescind previously issued certifications.
Energy Star wants to help facility managers prepare for the updates. Go to energystar.gov/scoreupdates for in-depth information about the changes I just described, other changes that may affect scores, and a schedule of upcoming training to help you prepare for the changes.
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