ENERGY STAR® is a voluntary federal government program to help businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy performance. Acquiring an ENERGY STAR rating for your buildings is important because it will provide better visibility into your company’s energy consumption habits. Once you’ve used EPA’s Portfolio Manager to acquire your energy rating, you can use your new rating as a benchmark for future energy saving efforts and exposure.
In order to understand the benefits of an ENERGY STAR rating, it is first important to explain how the rating was created. The ENERGY STAR grading system is an unbiased, third-party analytical tool that is easy to understand and communicate to all levels within your company. The rating system was developed using a comprehensive approach that included extensive research and information from the EPA, Department of Energy, and NOAA as well as other universities and organizations.
The ENERGY STAR brand has quickly become the industry standard for rating energy efficiency. It is the most widely used energy performance rating system in the United States. More than 160,000 buildings covering 19 billion square feet have benchmarked their buildings using Portfolio Manager. In fact according to the EPA, over 75% of the American public recognizes the ENERGY STAR brand. The logo is prominently featured on thousands of appliances, electronics, equipment and buildings. The awareness and number of products and buildings receiving the ENERGY STAR label are both growing year over year.
An independent study of the commercial real estate market recently found that compared with the national average, buildings that have earned the ENERGY STAR label consume around 35% less energy and have operating costs that are 50 cents lower per square foot. The study also found that the energy savings of labeled buildings can increase over time. Building occupancy rates increased and the savings generated from lower energy bills provided higher property values.
In addition to receiving the energy and cost saving benefits that an ENERGY STAR rating offers, many companies also leverage the ENERGY STAR brand for exposure. As an example, buildings earning an ENERGY STAR rating of 75 or higher can receive a plaque that certifies the building meets ENERGY STAR standards. The plaque can then be placed in a high traffic area, like an entrance or hallway, so that people walking in and out of your building can see your recognition. Companies can be nominated for the prestigious EPA Partner of the Year Award and featured in the EPA’s online label building registry. This database offers a complete building profile of participating buildings and can be used as case studies for how to make buildings energy efficient.
Becoming an ENERGY STAR partner provides several ways to communicate your organization’s partnership with this well trusted and well recognized program. If your organization is a partner and is actively benchmarking your buildings, you will be able to easily communicate to your customers and other stakeholders the commitment your organization has made and what you’re doing to reduce your energy consumption. This communication can be done by including the ENERGY STAR partner logo on your website, any sustainability program, documentation and even the signage within your building. ENERGY STAR also provides numerous resources and communication tools to use online. Some of the tools even help you publicize your energy efficient accomplishments. For example, you can use the template press release to announce your company’s first labeled building or energy rating.
Ecova helps many clients receive ENERGY STAR ratings for their buildings. Learn more in this recent blog post, “ENERGY STAR: Strategy, Performance and Value.”
For more information about the benefits of ENERGY STAR ratings, please visit energystar.gov.