Major Changes Coming to ENERGY STAR Program in 2018

EPA Announces 2018 Planned Changes to ENERGY STAR Program at Commercial Buildings Partner Meeting

Yesterday, GHT Limited joined over 1,000 building owners, managers and national energy efficiency experts as they gathered in Chicago, Illinois for the ENERGY STAR Commercial Buildings Partner Meeting to preview planned changes to the program. Here are the key takeaways:

ENERGY STAR will now use 2012 CBECS data, as opposed to 2003 data.      

The Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), published by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) represents the most comprehensive information, compiled from national surveys, on commercial building energy usage. Using the latest complete set of data from 2012 will assure that the program continues to provide a national level benchmark for better building performance.

ENERGY STAR Certification changes are scheduled to take effect in August 2018.     

Beginning in May 2016, program analysis was performed based on the new variables captured by the 2012 CBECS survey. Portfolio Manager data and CBECS were also compared to develop regression models – as a result, a normalized mean (average energy use for a typical building like yours) is developed. This normalized mean provides a baseline against which owners compare their buildings to earn certification. As the energy efficiency of the “normalized mean” building improved significantly from 2003 to 2012, building owners may see an 8-15 point drop in their own ENERGY STAR scores once changes are enacted. These program metrics will be updated and released in Portfolio Manager by August 2018.

EPA will not rescind prior ENERGY STAR certifications.   

All certified properties will remain on the registry and Owners will still be able to track their building’s progress towards achieving energy reduction targets. If you have top-performing buildings in your portfolio that haven’t been certified yet, now is a good time to pursue certification.

What does this mean for me?

  • Apply for ENERGY STAR certification before August 2018…especially if your score is close to 75!
  • If you’re already earned 2017 certification, your next eligible period will be 11 months after the “Year Ending” date from your previous application.
  • If the “Year Ending Date” for your 2017 certification was between July and December 2017, you’re allowed to apply early – in July 2018 before the changes take effect!

Additional resources:
Preparing for EPA’s ENERGY STAR Metric Updates

ENERGY STAR Market Insights from the 2017 Partners Meeting

CBECS 2012 Survey Data & Methodology

As Section Head of Building Energy Services in GHT’s Operations & Energy Services (OES) studioJeffrey Salay, PE, CEM, LEED AP leads the firm’s efforts to provide ENERGY STAR benchmarking services, conduct ASHRAE energy audits and other energy studies, and design energy efficiency upgrades. For more information and help with your next ENERGY STAR certification, contact our team today at