Why You Should Raise Your Energy Star Score

Samantha Dubrow
June 20, 2014

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Energy Star is the most recognizable program for ranking energy efficiency for anything from electrical appliances to buildings. Its Portfolio Manager tool generates a score for each of your buildings on a scale from 0 - 100, which represents its efficiency compared to similar buildings. 

For example, if your building receives an Energy Star score of 47, that building is performing better than 47% of similar buildings across the country that have a similar primary use. Once you have an Energy Star score, you can make plans to invest in energy projects that will raise your score and reduce your bill by up to 30%.

IMPROVING YOUR SCORE IS IMMEDIATELY VALUABLE TO YOU.

A higher score means a lower bill.

If an Energy Star score of 75 means that a building is performing 75% better than similar buildings, that also means the building is saving 75% more on its bills. 

The sooner you start using Energy Star to organize your building portfolio, the sooner you will be able to invest in energy projects efficiently. Most day-to-day energy saving techniques save 10-15%, but buildings save about 30% when Energy Star is incorporated as a management program.

People recognize the label.

From vending machines to computers to dishwashers, Energy Star stickers are everywhere. Look around today and count how many you see. So far today I’ve seen four and I haven’t even had lunch yet.

Buildings with an Energy Star score of 75 are certified by Energy Star and receive a plaque to display publicly, increasing the building’s marketability, instantly classifying the building as sustainable and green. 

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ENERGY STAR IS A POWERFUL TOOL.

It considers the unique aspects of your building.

If you get on a treadmill and run for 30 minutes without telling the machine your height, weight, age, or gender, the calories it reports that you burn are arbitrary.

Just like every person’s body burns energy differently, every building burns energy differently. Energy Star does not just measure the size of your building; it also considers number of occupants, number of appliances such as computers, and patterns and hours of operation. The benchmarking process also considers building location and weather patterns to generate the most accurate score.

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It lets you compare your building to others that are similar.

You wouldn’t expect a 5’2” 110lb 18-year-old female to burn the same number of calories on a treadmill in 30 minutes as a 6’4” 250lb 35-year-old male, right? So it wouldn’t be fair if you congratulated one of them for burning more calories, since they completed the same physical activity.

Energy Star considers this for buildings, and generates a score that only compares buildings with others in their “peer group” that have the same primary use. Having an Energy Star plaque posted in the lobby of your building means that your building is one of the most efficient of its kind.

Your score highlights room for improvement.

When you receive energy data in terms of monthly bills or kWh, it is difficult to see the potential for how much can be saved. Energy Star gives you a score between 1 and 100, clearly showing you the amount of room for improvement. You can look at your performance like a grade on a test, which will motivate you to make the necessary changes to perform better the next time you are benchmarked, so you can raise your score and work toward a plaque.

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If your building is included in the 40% of commercial buildings in the United States that have already been benchmarked, then the next step is to dramatically increase your score before it is benchmarked again next year. If you haven’t been benchmarked yet, check out Energy Star's benchmarking tools to figure out where your buildings stack up.

Topics: Sustainability, Going Green, Energy Efficiency, benchmarking, Energy Star

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