Warning: The Government is About to Slash Your Efficiency Rating
My name is Herb Woerpel, and I’m the new quarterback around here.
Former editor Robert Beverly and I have essentially swapped jobs. Beverly, who’s been carrying the torch for this publication for the last 19 years, is now serving in my previous position as senior editor of the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration NEWS (The NEWS), and I find myself here, as editor-in-chief of Engineered Systems.
While this sudden swap may seem tailor-made for Hollywood (See: “Freaky Friday”), it also happens in real life, evidently. After seven years of working with HVACR contractors at The NEWS and distributors at Distribution Center, I’m excited to view the industry through a new lens.
But, enough about me. Let’s get down to business.
At no fault of your own, your buildings’ Energy Star scores are about to decrease.
On Aug. 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will unveil new certification performance metrics.
Each building’s Energy Star score, which is rated on a 1-100 range, serves as a comparison of a building’s energy performance when compared to similar buildings nationwide. For most types of commercial buildings, the 1-100 Energy Star 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 (DOE). The latest CBECS data became available in 2016 and is based on the results of a 2012 survey. The EPA was unable to publish the 2007 CBECS; therefore, many of today’s building scores still rely on data from prior surveys.
In recent years, the U.S. building stock has registered a lower average aggregate energy intensity, which is a fancy way of saying that buildings are becoming more efficient.
The resulting score changes may be significant. The EPA estimates, on average, retail site scores will decrease 16 points, schools will drop 13 points, and offices will fall 12 points. On the flip side, hotel facilities are expected to increase 1 point.
If your — or your client’s — ranking hovers near the 75 points necessary to obtain certification, you may want to apply sooner than later.
All certification applications received before July 26 will be assessed using the existing models, while those received after July 26 will likely be assessed using the new calculations. All Energy Star certifications are good for one year, and the EPA will not rescind prior certifications.
All buildings that earned 2017 Energy Star certification are eligible to apply for 2018 certification using a year-ending date of April 30 or earlier rather than the typical July 30 deadline. This earlier date was implemented to allow facility managers time to submit their utility bills prior to the July 26 target date.
Both the EPA’s Portfolio Manager and Target Finder use the same underlying methodology, so design metrics will also be refurbished as part of the August metric update.
Energy Star certification is an attractive stamp for clients and consumers. Make sure your teams are up to speed on the changes and prepare accordingly.
For more information, visit here. ES
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