Energy Star for Buildings Portfolio Manager Helps Improve Building Energy Efficiency

Energy-Star-logoThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star is one of the most recognized brands in the U.S.  Eighty-seven percent of households recognize the Energy Star brand when they see the logo and 74% without seeing the logo.  Beyond recognition, 64% of households associate the brand with efficiency and energy savings.  Energy Star is a voluntary, market-based program to encourage energy efficiency and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.  The label was first used in 1992 to identify energy efficient computers and monitors.  The Energy Star for Buildings program followed shortly thereafter, with the first pilot in 1993.  In 1999 EPA introduced Portfolio Manager, the centerpiece of the Energy Star for Buildings Program.

Energy Star Portfolio Managers is a free, online energy management and tracking tool.  Portfolio Manager helps companies track and measure whole building energy performance, including water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and cost.  Data is entered at the meter level, and Portfolio Manager has built-in accuracy checks and data wizards to assist with data entry.  There are almost 150 energy, water and greenhouse gas metrics available in Portfolio Manager, and users have the option of creating custom reports as well.  Portfolio Manager also has a planning function that lets users set baselines and targets for buildings.

One of the key features of Portfolio Manger is its benchmarking capabilities.  Not only are you able to compare the performance of buildings in your own portfolio, but to thousands of other buildings across the U.S. in the same sector.  Based on this comparison an Energy Star score from 1-100 will be assigned to a building.  For example, a score of 75 indicates that a building’s energy performance is better than 75% of the buildings in its sector.  Buildings that score 75 or higher, and have their data verified by a qualified third party, are eligible for EPA’s Energy Star for Buildings certification.  Portfolio Manager has 18 broad categories of buildings with 97 primary functions, of these only the 20 shown below are eligible for the Energy Star Certification.  The full list of building categories and primary functions can be found here.

New_York_Skylines_04

By OscarUrdaneta (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

●  Bank branch
●  Barracks
●  Financial office
●  K-12 school
●  Supermarket/grocery store
●  Wholesale club/supercenter
●  Hospital
●  Medical office
●  Senior care community
●  Hotel
●  Residential hall/dormitory
●  Office
●  Courthouse
●  Wastewater treatment plant
●  Worship facility
●  Retail store
●  Data center
●  Distribution center
●  Non-refrigerated warehouse
●  Refrigerated warehouse

Using Portfolio Manager to actively track and manage energy and water usage can yield significant benefits.  Energy Star Certified buildings average 35% lower energy usage and 35% lower greenhouse gas emissions than other buildings in their sector.  As outlined in a previous post: Building Efficiency Disclosure Expands in 2013, state and local jurisdictions are turning to Portfolio Manager to help drive efficiency improvements in commercial and multi-family residential buildings.  Given the broad recognition of the Energy Star brand, the Energy Star Certification also likely enhances reputational value as well.  EPA’s main Energy Star for Buildings website is here, and training on Portfolio Manager can be found here.

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