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Hold on to Your Seats! Major Energy Star Changes Ahead in 2018!!

MEP Energy Star Certificationr ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager is a fantastic tool for building owners and operators looking to monitor their building's utility usage and compare their properties' energy footprint against similar properties. As with any tool there is always room for improvement. Recent changes to the Portfolio Manager have made it an even more versatile and accurate tool than before. The EPA has added an array of new metrics and features to Portfolio Manager that give users a more complete picture of how resources are being used. And according to recent EPA announcement more improvements are on the way!

New Metrics
The past two years have been eventful ones for Portfolio Manager in terms of new metrics. While utility tracking has always been a cornerstone of the ENERGY STAR process there have been some major facets overlooked since the program was started back in 1992. Building owners have always been able to track their electricity, gas, and other energy sources using Portfolio Manager, but there were other important resources people were requesting to add to the program as well.

Waste and materials tracking was recently added to Portfolio Manager. Since waste is “on the way out” of a building, it is easier to overlook than some of the resources that are constantly in use. Waste tracking is crucial for building owners to be aware of so they can monitor trends in their building's total output and set goals to reduce the amount of materials discarded. Reduction is a key step for sustainability, and since the waste tracking tool allows for recycling and compost tracking, users can cover the reuse and recycling aspects of their material resources as well.

Water tracking was added to Portfolio Manager in 2017. This was another crucial tool for building owners hoping to track resource consumption. With the water tracking tool building owners and operators can enter their monthly water consumption and note trends and anomalies in their usage. The city of Los Angeles recently passed a city ordinance (EBEWE) that requires buildings over 50,000 square feet to report their water and energy usage using Portfolio Manager.

Another metric added to Portfolio Manager this year is demand tracking. Users can enter the on and off peaks for their electric usage in kW. Though it is not required for ENERGY STAR certification demand tracking allows Portfolio Manager users to have a more nuanced and complete view of how electricity is being used by the building.

Scores
We have good news and bad news for the future Portfolio Manager scoring. Bad news first: Portfolio Manager scores are expected to drop after CBECS 2012 data is implemented into the scoring model in August 2018. This means that some buildings that were scoring 75 before will now be below the ENERGY STAR certification threshold. While this will change the score of historical ENERGY STAR certifications it will not revoke past certifications that drop below 75. However, it will impact future certifications. If your building has a borderline score ENERGY STAR recommends trying to get your 2018 applications in by June 2018 to ensure that you do not miss the opportunity to certify with your higher score. After August 2018 it may be too late.

Now the good news: Currently only certain types of buildings can receive an actual 1-100 score in ENERGY STAR. This means that certain building types are totally ineligible for certification and cannot even compare their building against the national average for buildings of a similar type. Thankfully a number of building types are about to receive scoring thanks to survey data that has recently been analyzed and aggregated to create new scores. Two prominent building score types that are expected to launch in August 2018 are Hotels and Worship Centers. Once the new scoring system is live Hotel owners as well owners of various types of Worship facilities will be able to earn ENERGY STAR certification for their properties provided they earn a score of 75 compared to their building type's national average.

Analyzing your Portfolio
There have been a few slight interface changes that will allow Portfolio Manager users with larger portfolios to more expediently evaluate their projects. The landing page for Portfolio Manager has been reworked, and we here at MEP could not be happier about it. Previously the landing page simply listed building names or addresses so users would need to go into each profile to see information on each project. Now the landing page is chock-full of information allowing users to scroll through entire portfolios and access information like the most recent utility bill entry date, building ID #, score, and even the Site EUI (Energy Use Intensity, the metric used to calculate scores). This allows users to assess the status and what is needed to update a number of buildings at a time rather than evaluating each building individually.

Please contact Maximum Energy Professionals to get your building profile set up today. MEP has a long history with the EPA's ENERGY STAR program and was named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in 2016 and 2017. Maximum Energy Professionals benchmarks and certifies 100’s of buildings each year. Start benchmarking and monitoring your buildings' energy and water performance to optimize your 2018 resource footprint.

This Blog article has been posted by Maximum Energy Professionals “MEP”, a mechanical engineering firm located in Torrance, CA. For information on Sustainability Services including: ENERGY STAR utility benchmarking and award certification, California AB802 Compliance, City of Los Angeles EBEWE Compliance, our Utility Data Management Software dashboard, ASHRAE energy audits, LEED, and energy conservation/green Mechanical-Electrical-Plumbing systems and equipment design, please give us a call at 310-782-1410 or visit our website at www.mep-llc.com.