Question Of The Week: Has Your ENERGY STAR Score Changed?

Based on most recent market data available, on August 26 the EPA updated performance metrics for facilities participating in its ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated the performance metrics for U.S. buildings in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager based on the most recent market data available. As of August 26, 2018, facility managers and building owners who benchmark one or more properties in Portfolio Manager should be aware that their buildings’ 1–100 ENERGY STAR scores and other source energy metrics have been updated across all time periods to reflect the latest performance metrics. (Note: These changes have not impacted Canadian buildings.)energy star

This update is part of EPA’s standard process to keep ENERGY STAR metrics as current as possible, and reflective of current market performance.

The EPA has provided some basic information on the ENERGY STAR page, addressing questions such as:
What is the latest available market data?
What does this mean for my ENERGY STAR score?
What else changed besides updates to 1-100 ENERGY STAR scores?

What is the latest available market data?
For most types of commercial buildings, the 1–100 score is based on the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), which is conducted about once every four years by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). The latest CBECS data became available in 2016 and is based on the results of the 2012 survey. (EIA was unable to publish the 2007 CBECS; therefore, prior to this update, many of the scores relied on data collected in 2003.)

What does this mean for my ENERGY STAR score?
The 1-100 score compares your building’s energy performance to that of similar buildings nationwide. Because the ENERGY STAR score is a comparison with the national building stock, and the national building stock has improved in efficiency over the past decade, the average score for most building types will have gone down after the model updates.

Before the update, EPA calculated average score changes by building type based on buildings benchmarked in Portfolio Manager, and we published those average changes to give our stakeholders some idea of what to expect. However, because your buildings may differ from the typical building used in our analysis, the change in your building’s ENERGY STAR score will vary from the published average depending on its energy use, fuel mix, business activity, property type, and other variables. Furthermore, by definition, roughly half of buildings of any type should have larger decreases than average, and half should have smaller decreases.

The following 1–100 ENERGY STAR score models were updated:
• Bank branches
• Courthouses
• Financial offices
• Hotels
• Houses of worship
• K-12 schools
• Offices
• Retail, including retail store and wholesale club/supercenter
• Supermarkets
• Warehouses, including refrigerated, non-refrigerated, and distribution centers

Note that ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and Target Finder also generate metrics used to evaluate energy design targets of new construction, including the 1-100 ENERGY STAR score. Both tools calculate metrics using the same underlying methodology, so design metrics were also refreshed.

Facility managers, building owners, and other interested parties can find out more at the ENERGY STAR website. Answers to additional general questions, such as the following are addressed there: What time periods were impacted? What steps should I take next?

Do you participate in ENERGY STAR scoring and other programs for your facilities? If so, were you tracking the changes to your ENERGY STAR scores with this recent change? How have your facility scores been impacted? Please share your comments below.