Energy Star Benchmarking Tools for Building Energy Performance
The US EPA’s Water Sense, Energy Star, Portfolio Manager, and Sustainable Materials Management programs are charged with identifying key performance metrics in both waste and materials management by measuring energy, greenhouse gas, water, and other data on nearly 500,000 buildings in the US and 10,000 buildings in Canada. Commercial real estate owners are able to use Energy Star Portfolio Manager software to track their energy use, waste, and materials. Energy Star also provides information and strategies on saving energy at home, building new energy efficient homes, and running more efficient industrial plants.
Measuring Energy Data
One metric used by the EPA is EUI, or Energy Use Intensity, that looks at the amount of energy used in a year divided by floorspace. According to the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager report, the average US kindergarten to 12th-grade school has an EUI of 58.
The collection of this data by companies of different types and in different locations allows regulators and business owners to compare their energy consumption in buildings that are part of the LEED O&M Rating System. The Energy Star Portfolio Manager software is free online and helps users identify opportunities to make their buildings more efficient and to reduce waste.
Green Buildings vs. Greenbacks
The rollout of this new software comes as the Trump administration prepares to enter the White House with the possibility of rollbacks in EPA rules. At the same time, cities like Denver, Colorado, are passing energy-efficiency rules for commercial buildings. It’s anyone’s guess how the Trump administration will affect the adoption of standards across the country.
In the meantime, engineering and architecture programs across the US are focused on designing buildings that are more energy efficient. In fact, the Green Star Performance Rating Tool showed that the number of certificates issued for good performance was up 80% in 2016.
The following video explains the Energy Star Portfolio Manager.