by Corey Lee Wilson | IFMA Inland Empire Chapter President
ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager can assist in evaluating and tracking a facility’s energy consumption, help identify underperforming facilities, generate an ENERGY STAR score, track energy savings from implementation of energy efficient measures, and evaluate potential energy saving measures for a facility. With the assistance of ENERGY STAR Measurement and Tracking Tool: Portfolio Manager, facility owners and managers can make more informed decisions on topics and matters that are based on the energy performance of their facility.
By entering basic information about a facility and its energy consumption data, the tool calculates annual energy consumption, which can be compared to other similar facilities using the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA) benchmarking data. Some facilities that meet certain criteria can take this further and use the tool to benchmark energy usage against facilities across the nation and determine the building’s ENERGY STAR score.
Setting Up a Facility for an ENERGY STAR Score
After registering as a Portfolio Manager user, the next step is to create a facility in Portfolio Manager and populate the necessary data with the following:
• Essential building information such as year built, building type, floor area, number of occupants, etc.
• Break out space uses that are fundamentally different from the defined core building space.
• Twelve (12) months of monthly energy consumption data.
Facilities can be grouped in Portfolio Manager to show how certain groups of facilities may be performing against an entire portfolio or within the group. For example, if the portfolio consists of retail buildings and distribution centers, these different types of buildings can be grouped together, thus allowing comparison of a facility’s performance against its specific group. ENERGY STAR scores are only available for individual buildings.
This rating system is based on statistically representative models that compare the energy consumption of a building to similar buildings from a national survey conducted by the United States Department of Energy every four years called the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS). This survey collects data, such as building characteristics and energy usage, from buildings located across the United States. A building’s peer group for comparison are those buildings in the CBECS survey that have similar building and operating characteristics. Essential information from this survey can highlight facility performance criteria such as:
• Environmental – Shows rating, EUI, change from baseline energy use, and change from GHG emissions.
• Financial – Shows annual cost of energy, water, and cost/SF of energy and water.
• GHG Emissions – Shows EUI, current GHG emissions, baseline GHG emissions, and change from baseline.
• Water Use – Shows water use, water cost, wastewater use, and wastewater cost.
• Energy Use – Shows rating, EUI, source EUI and change from baseline.
A score of 50 indicates that the building, from an energy consumption standpoint, performs better than 50% of all similar buildings nationwide, while a score of 75 indicates that the building performs better than 75% of all similar buildings nationwide. Ultimately, EPA expresses the rating on a 1-100 scale where 1 point on the scale represents 1 percentile of the commercial building market.
Similar to tracking energy consumption, Portfolio Manager allows for tracking of water use on a meter by meter basis. Portfolio Manager allows water consumption data monitoring from any meter on the property. Indoor usage, outdoor usage and sewer meters can be monitored. Units of measurement include cubic feet and gallons and there is also a place to input the cost associated with the water monitored by the meter. By using this tool, water consumption can be tracked over time and can illustrate water and cost savings associated with any water efficiency projects.
10 Great Reasons for ENERGY STAR Certification
Generating an ENERGY STAR score is the first step in the ENERGY STAR building certification process. To be eligible for the ENERGY STAR certification, a building must first receive a score of 75 or higher. For the building to achieve the ENERGY STAR certification, the statement of energy performance must be validated by a licensed professional who is familiar with building systems. Generating a score is also one of the primary ways to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (EBOM).
ENERGY STAR certified buildings are good for the environment too and good for the bottom line by offering 10 compelling reasons why your organization should pursue America’s most trusted symbol of energy efficiency for your properties.
1. Lower operating costs, on average 35% less energy than similar buildings nationwide, with office buildings costing $0.50 less per square foot to operate than their peers. In 2014, ENERGY STAR certified buildings saved $1.4 billion, or an average of nearly $200,000 per building.
2. More marketable making your buildings all the more attractive to potential buyers and lessees who want guaranteed savings.
3. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions prove you’re joining the front lines in the fight against climate change.
4. Lease to federal tenants because Executive Order 13514 mandates that Federal Agencies may only lease space in ENERGY STAR certified buildings.
5. Higher rental rates by $2.40 per square foot than similar buildings, plus occupancy rates are 3.6% higher when compared to similar buildings.
6. Increased asset value makes it more likely that the higher net operating income from energy cost savings will be recognized through higher building valuation.
7. Manage risk when developing properties by mitigating risks to profitability by validating assumptions made during the development appraisal, such as operating costs, rents, asset value, and occupancy.
8. Hedge against future mandates by being in a better position to respond to any future laws or mandates that come your way like AB 1103 and AB 758.
9. No cost to minimal set-up costs for using all of EPA’s tools and resources, including Portfolio Manager and third party implementation and certifications.
10. It’s just the right thing to do as 68% of adults like to do business with companies that are environmentally responsible.
ENERGY STAR Building Categories
Based on the information found in Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), Portfolio Manager will compare a facility to others with similar operating characteristics. If the operating characteristics of the facility cannot be properly compared to similar types of facilities across the nation, then a score cannot be determined and assigned. However, for those buildings that are not currently eligible to receive a score, most can receive a national average for comparison. By meeting the criteria set forth by the EPA, Portfolio Manager can accurately model and compare a facility to others.
As of 2015, the types of ENERGY STAR building categories are as follows, however, EPA is always working to develop scoring criteria for additional segments of the commercial building market.
• Bank branch
• Data center
• Distribution center
• Financial office
• Hospital (general medical & surgical)
• K-12 school
• Medical office
• Multifamily housing
• Non-refrigerated warehouse
• Refrigerated warehouse
• Residence hall/ dormitory
• Retail store
• Senior care community
• Supermarket/grocery store
• Wastewater treatment plant
• Wholesale club/supercenter
• Worship facility
The final criteria category that must be met is the energy data. To receive a score, the utility meter readings for all energy types consumed by the facility must be input. Utility meters must be in place to monitor the facility’s total consumption. If a building’s energy consumption is monitored by a meter that supplies more than one building and there is no sub-meter, the building is not eligible for a rating. Additionally, at least twelve (12) months of utility consumption data is required for each meter and no individual electrical meter reading can span more than 65 days.
Understanding the Facility’s Performance
The statement of energy performance summarizes the facility’s energy performance rating over a selected twelve (12) month period, total energy consumption, site and source energy use intensity (EUI), emissions, greenhouse gas emissions and a national average comparison.
Because Portfolio Manager makes it possible to view the many aspects of the performance of a facility, it allows facility managers to pick and choose performance targets. Based on the facility’s score, performance targets will fall into one of three categories.
• The first category is for facilities that are performing below average and typically receive an energy performance score between 1 and 49. If the facility receives a score within this range, it should be seen as a wake-up call, especially for facilities that have assumed they were performing well. These facilities are underperforming, and the steps to improvement may be more costly, likely requiring investment in energy-efficient equipment and implementing best practices for the maintenance and operation of the equipment. However, these facilities have the greatest potential for energy and greenhouse gas reductions.
• The second category is for facilities that are performing at average or above average levels, but not at the level necessary to receive the ENERGY STAR. These facilities typically receive an energy performance score between 50 and 74. The steps for improvement in this category may not be as intensive as the first and the goal is to tighten up the operation of the facility in order to optimize the performance of the building’s equipment to reduce energy consumption. In addition, some equipment upgrades may be necessary to further improve a facility’s performance.
• The third category is for facilities performing significantly better than their peers, and buildings in this category are eligible to receive the ENERGY STAR certification. These facilities typically receive an energy performance score between 75 and 100. A facility that receives a score within this category boasts current operations and equipment that has allowed it to reduce energy consumption and improve operating efficiency. From here, success can be built upon by using Portfolio Manager to track the facility to help further improve its efficiency and also discover problems that may occur with its operations.
Setting and Interpreting Energy Performance Goals
The next step is to set goals and targets for improving energy efficiency. Portfolio Manager has features that allow the user to set energy performance goals and estimate how much energy will need to be saved to meet those goals. This feature allows reasonable goals and targets to be set for the facility and provides an estimate of how much energy must be saved to achieve the goals.
Energy savings can be tracked as energy conservation measures are implemented. The impact of past energy-saving measures as a whole across the entire facility can also be estimated. Once energy performance improvements have been implemented, one would want to be able to evaluate how much energy these improvements have saved. If energy performance improvements have been implemented in the past, Portfolio Manager can also help in evaluating the savings received from these improvements as a whole or over a period of time.
By using the tracking tools, continuously collecting information about the facility and setting new energy performance targets, sustainability goals can be achieved. Consultants with industry expertise and relevant training such as the LEED AP Operations & Maintenance, Facility Management Professional (FMP), and the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credentials can provide ENERGYSTAR Portfolio Manager set-up, monitoring, and benchmarking services.
For more information on how to make this happen, please contact Corey Lee Wilson at CLW Enterprises at (951) 415-3002, CLWEnterprises@att.net or follow the link to www.CLW-Enterprises.com. Information used for this article was borrowed from the 2011 IFMA Foundation Sustainability Guide – EPA’S ENERGY STAR Measurement and Tracking Tool: Portfolio Manager.