Are you prepared for Energy Star changes on the horizon?


In the coming months… facility executives may be in for a shock, because the EPA is expected to update the baseline energy consumption data that determines ENERGY STAR scoring for buildings. The current Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) data used for calculations is still based on a 2003 survey. As new data comes in from 2012’s CBECS, a long overdue baseline reset could leave commercial buildings vulnerable to ENERGY STAR score reductions, which, in turn, could jeopardize their ENERGY STAR and LEED certifications, ultimately triggering millions in necessary upgrades.

To drill deeper, the ENERGY STAR score of commercial buildings is predicated on baseline data from the CBECS, which is conducted once every four years by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, an absence of CBECS reporting in both 2007 and 2011 means that the current ENERGY STAR scores are no longer an accurate measure of current building efficiency. For example, because overall energy usage fell by 7% from 2008-2011 alone, it is highly likely the new 2012 CBECS data will institute a much higher baseline for buildings seeking ENERGY STAR or LEED certification.

While this baseline recalibration may make it more difficult for some buildings to reapply for certification, it could help combat the complacency many CRE industry observers have noted. Currently, many building operators with high ENERGY STAR scores may think “we have a 92 score, we’re done” and, as a result, may delay adoption of Energy Management Software (EMS) and other comparable technologies…

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