Commercial, Energy Efficiency - October 11, 2018
EPA hits pause on Energy Star updates
The Environmental Protection Agency is pausing plans to update its Energy Star program, which rates the energy efficiency of office and industrial buildings, following complaints by large property owners. The plans were initially introduced in August.
A report in the Wall Street Journal said that "some big landlords complained the methodology would unfairly penalize their properties." More than 200,000 properties across the U.S. participate in the Energy Star program, which generates scores measure energy efficiency and rate buildings. The program was created to allow tenants and owners an easy way to compare each building’s energy use and a sense of what their energy bills would be. The report noted that while the program isn’t mandatory, many landlords agree to participate because tenants increasingly seek more energy-efficient buildings.
The updated ratings system accounts for an increasing number of participating buildings and technologies, including motion-sensitive lights and cloud-based energy-management systems. The report said many landlords expected a decline in ratings due to the high number of new buildings that have joined the Energy Star program, as well recent improvements in energy efficiency that made it harder for buildings that haven’t upgraded to maintain high scores. However, the report noted that they "were shocked when they started calculating what their scores would be under the new system EPA announced in August. They didn’t think their scores would fall so far they would no longer get the coveted Energy Star status."
The Energy Star program’s webpage now says that the EPA “is implementing a review period, during which we will specifically solicit feedback on the application of those models to various commercial building sectors and the resulting scores.” During this period, the EPA will temporarily suspend awarding certifications for all U.S. property types with new score models.
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