Corporate sustainability is a hot topic. Consumers, employees and investors like to know that a company exhibits an interest that goes beyond the bottom line. Achieving a high ENERGY STAR rating is a good way to prove your commitment to environmental responsibility. The label tells the public that your building facilities meet strict energy performance standards set by the EPA. It means your buildings use less energy, cost less to operate and cause fewer greenhouse gas emissions than your peers. That’s good news for you, too.
As a benchmarking tool, ENERGY STAR is the cream of the crop, because it compares your building to other buildings of similar construction, type and use. This is important if your organization comprises multiple building types, and you want to know if your locations measure up against similar buildings elsewhere. Even if all your buildings are the same, ENERGY STAR plays an important role in tracking usage and efficiency upgrades.
It’s a highly recognizable label, too. A survey by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), reports that “Eighty-seven percent of consumers recognized the ENERGY STAR label, and the majority of consumers have a high understanding of the message behind the label.”
Good for Business, Good for the Environment
Size or service type doesn’t matter when it comes to ENERGY STAR: You can benefit if you manage one facility or an entire portfolio. In fact, small businesses often save as much money and prevent as much pollution, per square foot, as large organizations. Car dealerships with repair shops use more energy per square foot than a typical office building: Running compressors and paint booths, specialty lighting and HVAC can put a drain on your resources.
You can use energy benchmarking for existing buildings and new construction. Whether you want to help the environment, make your business more profitable or make taxpayer dollars stretch further, site performance benchmarking is a good place to start.
Ideal candidates include:
- Manufacturing and industrial concerns
- Small and medium businesses of all types
- Large corporations
- Not-for-profit organizations
- Schools and municipalities
- And more!
Watch for Upcoming Mandates
Owner/operators of large commercial facilities may soon be required to track their benchmark building performance through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. As environmental concerns about greenhouse emissions and better energy management grow, mandatory compliance regulations are popping up in more and more states, counties, cities and municipalities. These cities and states have already implemented mandatory reporting requirements.
- Austin, TX
- Boston, MA
- Minneapolis, MN
- New York, NY
- Philadelphia, PA
- San Francisco, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Washington, DC
Before you can harness the benefits of ENERGY STAR, you must enter your consumption data, cost information, building types and operational use details into the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, the program’s resource management tool. Using more than 100 different metrics, you can compare your building’s performance against a yearly baseline, national medians or similar buildings in your portfolio.
The process usually involves manual data entry as you gather certain details from your invoices, including energy usage and billing-period service dates. This requires a significant investment in manpower and therefore presents an obstacle to many companies. A third party resource, such as Cost Control Associates, can help. We have extensive experience with Portfolio Manager, so you don’t have to figure it out on your own. We will gather and enter your relevant data—or if you already have a bill-processing-and-payment program, we can help you set up the interface to feed your existing data into ENERGY STAR.
Harness the Star Power
When you align your company with ENERGY STAR, you will:
- Share in the power of a respected brand,
- Increase your ENERGY STAR score,
- Reduce the risk of incurring fees,
- Stay abreast of changing regulations,
- Simplify your site performance benchmarking, and
- Streamline the monitoring and control of energy and water expenses.
When your buildings perform well, you earn ENERGY STAR bragging rights, and that’s good for public relations. More important, when you use all the tools available to improve energy efficiency, you ultimately save money—and you’ll have that good feeling that comes with knowing you are helping the planet, too.
Keith Laake founded Cost Control Associates, Inc. in 1991 and has been responsible for strategic planning, marketing and sales, and overall management of the firm. He currently focuses on business development. Keith received his BBA from the University of Wisconsin and is a certified public accountant. Learn more.