The Value of ENERGY STAR Benchmarking

Written by: Johnathon Fata

Within the commercial real estate market, and especially within the energy efficiency market, ENERGY STAR benchmarking and certification are often discussed as efforts that a commercial building should pursue. We agree! But for a building that is still considering the idea of benchmarking their property or may be skeptical as to the value of pursuing this effort, we want to point out the value to owners and managers. The benefits of benchmarking your building using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager can be realized in both the short term and the long term, with additive benefits for buildings that receive certification.


Benchmarking. Benchmarking a building using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a no-cost measure that provides insight into how the building is operating so that owners and operators can begin to implement operational and capital improvements to decrease energy costs. One of the biggest advantages of benchmarking a building, regardless of its current baseline, is beginning to better understand how the building is performing when it comes to energy consumption. The old energy efficiency adage, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” has never been truer than here. Inputting a building’s energy data into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager begins to reveal how the building is performing compared to similar buildings. This benchmarking process often results in identification of anomalies or energy savings opportunities, which can lead to short and long term energy savings in the building.


A long term benefit of ENERGY STAR benchmarking (or short term depending on your location) is staying ahead of mandatory benchmarking ordinances. As cities move towards mandatory benchmarking laws, such as LL87 in New York and the City of San Francisco’s Environment Code Chapter 20, (in addition to 12 others) buildings are increasingly required to disclose energy consumption. By getting in front of (or staying in compliance with) these regulations, owners and managers can ensure that they are realizing all the benefits described above, while staying ahead of or in compliance with energy benchmarking and disclosure regulations. For example, the State of California just passed AB 802 that will now include whole building disclosure state-wide.


Certification. Buildings that officially achieve an ENERGY STAR Certification have (1) demonstrated that they are in the top 25% of buildings in their region based on energy consumption and (2) been verified by a licensed professional. For such buildings, there are additional benefits that continue throughout the life of the building. A few major benefits to achieving ENERGY STAR Certification include distinguishing your building, driving higher rents, and increasing overall property value.


According to ENERGY STAR, buildings that receive the ENERGY STAR Certification not only are consuming less energy than their peers, but also can achieve rents of 8% higher than non-certified buildings and see higher occupancy rates than non-certified buildings. Further, ENERGY STAR Certified buildings have been shown to have increased property value and sell for approximately 15% higher on a per-square foot basis as well.


Waypoint. If you are interested in pursuing ENERGY STAR for your building, Waypoint can assist with all efforts from benchmarking through certification. For more information on Waypoint’s Energy Star support services, contact info@waypoint-energy.com.