Status of Update to CBECS Database
The Portfolio Manager database is in the process of being updated to reflect more recent data on building energy consumption. What is the status of this update and what might the new data mean to facility managers? Might many of their energy scores go down, for example?
That’s correct. For most types of commercial buildings, the 1-100 ENERGY STAR score is based on the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), which is conducted about once every four years by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). New CBECS data will be available in late 2015, when EIA releases the results of its 2012 survey. Once EPA has access to the data, we will conduct extensive analyses to begin the process of updating our existing ENERGY STAR scores as well as developing scores for additional types of buildings, if possible.
The availability of new data will help facility managers who want the most accurate, up-to-date reflection of their buildings’ performance relative to similar buildings nationwide. Given that we still haven’t seen the survey results, we can’t yet predict what impact—if any—the new data will have on ENERGY STAR scores. Some may go up, some may go down, and some may stay the same; there’s really no way to know at this point.
It’s important to remember, though, that a drop in a building’s score doesn’t reflect that it has suddenly become less efficient, but rather that the nation’s buildings on the whole have become more efficient. That would be good news for us all. While no one wants to see their scores drop, EPA remains committed to providing building owners and managers with the very best and most accurate information they need about the energy performance of their building portfolios, and to provide resources to help them find ways to make improvements.
We have a great webpage set up with more information, including a schedule of upcoming webinars where we’ll be keeping our stakeholders informed and soliciting their input.
Answers provided by Lauren Hodges, director of communications, ENERGY STAR for Commercial Buildings & Industrial Plants, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.