ENERGY STAR Evaluations
ENERGY STAR Evaluations
Your commercial building may qualify to be awarded the ENERGY STAR® label! Part of the application process requires field verification by a professional engineer (PE), which is where we come in.
ENERGY STAR® Basics
ENERGY STAR® is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). You are probably most familiar with ENERGY STAR® because of labels on refrigerators and computer monitors. In 1999, ENERGY STAR® started a new program to label commercial buildings that were in the top 25% for energy performance. Through the years, ENERGY STAR® added different building types and today all the following may qualify for labeling:
- Bank / Financial Institution
- Hospital (acute and children’s)
- K-12 School
- Medical Office
- Retail Store
- Supermarket / Grocery Store
- Warehouse (refrigerated and non-refrigerated)
One of the greatest features about ENERGY STAR® is that it is a free program! Your only cost is a professional engineer’s verification.
How to Get Started
Well before you hire a professional engineer to verify your building, you need to create a profile and enter information into the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager.
ENERGY STAR® compares your building’s performance to a peer group based on both physical and operating characteristics. Therefore, you will be required to enter in several details about your building. Physical Characteristics include building name, location and floor area in square feet. Operating Characteristics include hours of operation, rates of occupancy and number of computers. This information will later be verified by the professional engineer.
The next step is to enter past energy consumption data into the Portfolio Manager. Fuel sources include electricity, natural gas, diesel fuel, and propane. At least 12 months of data must be entered into the Portfolio Manager. This too will later be verified by the professional engineer.
Based on all the information entered, ENERGY STAR® will provide you with an energy performance rating on a scale of 1 to 100 (100 being best). Only buildings scoring a 75 or greater qualify for ENERGY STAR® labeling. These buildings represent the nation’s top 25% energy performers.
Professional Engineer Verification
If you score 75 or above, you are almost done! The last step is to have a licensed professional engineer perform the required verification. A professional engineer must verify all the information because some buildings may manipulate their data in Portfolio Manager to boost their ENERGY STAR® score.
The professional engineer will verify the building’s physical and operating characteristics during an on-site assessment of the property. The professional engineer will also look over utility bills and verify that the entire building’s consumption has been properly recorded. Any discrepancies discovered will need to be rectified before the professional engineer approves and stamps the application.
The professional engineer verification also includes a detailed assessment of the indoor environment. Why? A building can save energy by cutting back on ventilation, operating at uncomfortable temperatures, or reducing lighting levels to the detriment of the occupants.
The professional engineer will verify that the building meets industry standards for ventilation, thermal comfort and lighting. These standards include ASHRAE Standard 62.1, ASHRAE Standard 55 and the IESNA Lighting Handbook. The professional engineer must use calibrated instrumentation to measure parameters such as temperature, relative humidity, air velocity, carbon dioxide and foot-candles.
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