The ENERGY STAR certification program was launched by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under its ENERGY STAR brand with the goal to recognize the most energy efficient buildings in the country.
The certification program has grown from its inception in 1999 to over 22,000 certified buildings―with the majority of the growth coming since 2009. The certification program was created to parallel ENERGY STAR’s product labeling program, which has been active since 1992 and has expanded from office equipment (monitors, fax machines, printers) to a wide variety of construction, HVAC and household products (roof, air conditioners, refrigerators, and just recently, clothes dryers).
ARE YOUR BUILDINGS ELIGIBLE?
In order to determine if a building is eligible for ENERGY STAR certification (see eligible building types), its energy consumption data and building attributes (square footage, number of employees, etc.) are inputted into ENERGY STAR’s benchmarking system, Portfolio Manager. As a result, a building receives a score between 1 and 100, which represents its energy efficiency performance percentile. As an example, a building receiving a 90 is more efficient than 90 percent of comparable buildings across the United States. Buildings scoring a 75 or above (in other words, buildings performing in the top 25 percent of comparable buildings) become eligible to receive the ENERGY STAR certification.
EARN UNBIASED RECOGNITION
The ENERGY STAR certification stands as an exclusive club of the most energy efficient buildings in the country, and serves as a third-party, unbiased recognition of a building’s strong energy performance. Achieving certification for a building is analogous to receiving a diploma as a college student. A student works for many years to master new skills, and once he or she achieves a level of mastery required by the university, a diploma is received. The diploma becomes a verification that the student has acquired the skills taught in college, and is recognized by potential employers as such. That same student could attend the same classes, develop the same skills, but without a diploma as verification, potential employees could not be certain of the students’ skills, and would likely not hire them.
DEMONSTRATE A COMMITMENT TO ENERGY EFFICIENCY
ENERGY STAR certification is the diploma a building can receive when it has demonstrated superior performance. In 2012, 87 percent of households recognized the blue ENERGY STAR label. Households that recognized the label indicate strong association between the label and products historically supported by regional energy efficiency programs. Clients, customers, potential tenants, and the public at large can, with a single glance at the ENERGY STAR decal on the front door, understand and appreciate the competence and diligence required to achieve and sustain high energy performance.
The ENERGY STAR certification communicates a building’s commitment to energy efficiency through action and ultimately sustained excellence. The market understands and puts a premium on ENERGY STAR buildings.
In running an energy efficient building, the challenge lies in managing and improving building performance, just as the challenge in college lies in learning the new skills. If your building is a top energy efficient building, put on your cap and gown and get your diploma!