Remember how everyone’s ENERGY STAR scores dropped last August?  For office buildings, the average score drop was 12 points – we’ve seen drops between 2 and 20 points!

Scores dropped so dramatically because it’s been a while since ENERGY STAR updated the dataset that the scoring model is based on. The previous model was based on a national survey conducted in 2003, while the new model is based on data from 2012 (the most recent national survey).  Building energy efficiency increased significantly between 2003 and 2012 (see chart below showing energy usage per square foot trending down).


While it’s great that buildings are getting more efficient, that also makes it more difficult to be in the top 25th percentile, which equates to the magic ENERGY STAR score of 75 or above, eligible for ENERGY STAR certification.

The new scores for office buildings are not quite final yet. The EPA is still reviewing and reevaluating the scoring model. Certifications are on hold until this review has been completed.

If you’re worried about keeping your property’s ENERGY STAR certification status, there may be some relief headed your way. The EPA anticipates that it will add a heating-related adjustment for office buildings in colder climates.  While properties in Los Angeles will probably see no change to their current scores, properties in Boston, New York or Chicago may recoup some of their losses (see preliminary projections of average score changes by city below).


Another change that already rolled out in August may help you further: if you have an unmetered data center in your building, you may be able to reconfigure your benchmarking to get more credit for that space and boost your score by several points.

Here are some things you need to know going forward:

  • EPA estimates that the score review for office buildings will be finalized sometime in July. Certifications for office buildings will be reopened at that time.
  • The EPA set the deadline for ENERGY STAR submittals this year as December 31, 2019.
  • If you haven’t submitted for 2018 certification yet, you will still be able to submit for 2018 certification and then submit for 2019 certification after the 2018 certification has been approved.

If we have helped you with your ENERGY STAR certification before, we will be in touch once certifications reopen.  In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions.


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