New Energy Star metrics are coming next month

The Environmental Protection Agency will update the Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool this summer. Office building scores are expected to drop approximately 12 points.

Amanda Timmons, LEED AP O+M
President, Ampajen Solutions LLC

The Energy Star Portfolio Manager metrics are being updated this summer, and scores are expected to drop by approximately 12 points for office properties, as discussed in the May 16, 2018, edition of Colorado Real Estate Journal.

If maintaining your current score is a priority for 2018, it is very important to apply for the 2018 Energy Star before the July 26 deadline. Typically, buildings must wait at least 11 months to apply each year, but there is a one-time allowance for all buildings to earn the 2018 Energy Star early. All scores will change on Aug. 27, when the metrics are updated.

We recommend contacting your mechanical engineer immediately, as these professionals will likely be flooded with Energy Star renewals up until the July 26 deadline.

To keep your score history, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends downloading a Statement of Energy Performance and/ or Data Verification Checklist for all prior years, which can be done on the reporting tab in Portfolio Manager. On Aug. 27, all prior scores will change to the new metrics. This will allow buildings to compare current performance to past performance accurately.

It is important to understand that all building scores will be adjusted for the 2019 round of Energy Star. After the score changes at the end of August, it may be worth considering a retro commissioning study or ASHRAE Level 2 energy audit to find ways to improve building performance. There still are rebates available from Xcel Energy to help offset these costs. To stay eligible for future rebates, make sure to implement the findings from the study. Instead of “cherry picking” only the findings with the lowest paybacks, consider implementing all findings for maximum savings and a reasonable full payback period.

Notify your building ownership, coworkers, interested occupants and leasing agent about this change. It may be important for your owner’s GRESB applications or sustainability reporting. The EPA has been emailing notifications to contacts in the Portfolio Manager tool, but that may not filter up to your asset manager.

Any buildings applying for LEED should guarantee that all details are accurate for the 2018 Energy Star application. If there are major changes to vacancy, occupant or computer counts that weren’t accurately reported during your Energy Star renewal, you may not be able to use the higher score achieved for 2018 for your LEED application.

Please note that LEED v4.1 does not use Energy Star, neither does the Arc Performance Path. The U.S. Green Building Council is using its own metrics for energy scores in the Arc platform. So, for anyone using Arc to renew LEED certification each year, you do not need to worry about changes to your energy score.

There is more information and communications available on regarding why and how this change is occurring.

Featured in CREJ’s July Property Management Quarterly.

Edited by the Colorado Real Estate Journal staff.