Have you ever seen those shiny blue plaques hanging near the lobby or entryway to an office building, hospital, or other commercial facilities? Ever wondered what they mean? This plaque represents Energy Star Certification, the most trusted environmental performance label in the U.S. With more and more focus on climate change and corporate stewardship, we thought it would help to explain what Energy Star certified means and how it could help your organization stand out.
Energy Star Certification acknowledges those facilities that have an Energy Star score of 75 or higher. This means that your facility performs better than at least 75% of similar facilities nationwide. The Energy Star score is based on the energy, water, and (sometimes) waste usage of your facility during the previous calendar year. Information is tracked using EPA's Energy Star Portfolio Manager ®– the industry-leading benchmarking tool. Those who generate 75 or higher scores in Portfolio Manager are eligible to apply for Energy Star Certification.
So, what does this score tell you? Your Energy Star Score helps to inform you of how well your building performs, especially compared to buildings of a similar size and usage. It also gives you access to over 100 different metrics, graphs, and tables to track and assess performance to manage your buildings better. This information shines a light on areas for performance improvement. It does not, however, tell you why a building is performing in this way. EES’ sustainability consultants can assist with that. The Energy Star Score can help you recognize facilities in your portfolio that have room to improve performance and those that deserve recognition.
So why bother applying for Energy Star Certification given the necessary score? Well, there are a couple of reasons. Energy Star Certification is the most trusted environmental performance label in the U.S. Compared to their peers, Energy Star Certified buildings use 35% less energy, generate 35% less Greenhouse Gas emissions, cost $0.54 less per square foot to operate, and have higher rental and occupancy rates. Having this trusted label will allow you to connect with potential customers and stakeholders who care about environmental performance, increase your asset value, help you save money on energy costs, and is also a symbol of smart financial and environmental performance.
For example, an acute care community hospital located in Philadelphia, recognized the importance of this certification years ago. Noting the need to become more energy efficient in difficult economic times, it conducted an assessment of the entire building in 2007. Based on the results, the facility department director, along with facility staff, created a plan to reduce energy usage. By 2010, they had a 90 Energy Star Rating and received their first Energy Star Certification, one of only two hospitals in Pennsylvania to receive the recognition that year. They have been certified ever since.
How was the hospital able to achieve its Energy Star Rating? All hands on deck. A new Energy Conservation team comprised of facilities department employees was formed. They created the "Turn it Off! Turn it Off! Turn it Off!" program, which enlisted all hospital staff's help in making sure the lights and air conditioners were turned off in unoccupied rooms. When they were not, a friendly reminder was left on the door from the facilities staff.
Additionally, several energy conservation programs and initiatives, some of them coming directly from hospital staff members, were implemented by the facilities department, including replacing equipment with more efficient models, partnering with a demand response program, and programming some utilities to shut off when not needed. The results continue to speak for themselves. The hospital has enjoyed a decade of reduced energy costs and reduced environmental impacts.
Overall, if your building is performing well and saving energy, water, and waste, not only will savings fall directly to the bottom line, the community will want to know too. It highlights a final point; Energy Star Certification is the right thing to do. Potential customers, employees, and tenants deserve a clear-cut label of performance to help inform decisions and appreciate working with organizations that have environmental concerns in mind.
If you qualify for Energy Star Certification, Environmental and Engineering Solutions is here to handle the application process. Additionally, EES consultants can conduct a site visit that will serve as the third-party verification by a Professional Engineer (P.E.) The site visit will ensure that your facility meets all of the Energy Star Certification eligibility requirements.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 215-881-9401 or by email at Tom@eesolutions.net.