The Office of Management and Budget’s proposed federal budget for 2018 has put critical programs within the EPA in jeopardy. Among them is Energy Star, which has helped individuals and businesses save money and protect our environment through increased energy efficiency since 1992. Energy-efficient appliances, products and buildings that meet a high performance standard may earn the Energy Star label.
LEED and Energy Star
As an early adopter of energy performance standards, Energy Star helped pave the way for the development of USGBC’s LEED rating system. Buildings earn LEED certification upon meeting certain levels of energy efficiency, among other measures. In fact, LEED uses the Energy Star system to empower property owners and occupants with the tools they need to meet these requirements and earn additional credits.
Among the LEED prerequisites is a requirement to reduce indoor water consumption by reaching certain performance standards for appliances, which includes those labeled as Energy Star. In addition to products, Energy Star identifies energy-efficient buildings.
Energy Star gives users the tools they need to reach a higher level of building energy performance, therefore positioning them closer to the standards required for LEED certification. In short, Energy Star helps make LEED possible.
There are many LEED-certified buildings in the private sector that also reach high Energy Star standards for buildings. Here are just a few examples:
Creekside West: Lakewood, Colorado
Creekside West offers affordable housing for adults 62 and older. It boasts renewable energy features such as 102,000-watt rooftop photovoltaic system and an extensive lighting control system. Energy-efficient lighting and appliances and water-efficient plumbing fixtures were incorporated as well. Creekside West is designed to consume 50 percent less energy and water than a typical building.
Nearly 90 percent of the project's construction materials were recycled and diverted from nearby landfills, and at least 10 percent of all materials originated from nearby locations. Native plants and outdoor drip irrigation reduce the need for water for landscaping, and a green roof reduces the heat island effect on the underground parking garage
Creekside West is Colorado’s first LEED Platinum (84/100) multifamily building, certified in 2011. The project also achieved a 100 Energy Star rating. The project has accessible pathways and is near public transportation, as well as providing indoor and outdoor bicycle storage and priority parking for low-emission vehicles.
CMTA Lexington Office Building: Lexington, Kentucky
Certified in 2015, CMTA’s office was the first office building certified to LEED Platinum in Lexington. The building received 81/100 overall LEED credits, including all 20 Energy and Atmosphere credits, and achieved a 100 Energy Star rating. Energy-saving features include insulated concrete form walls, geothermal heating and cooling, daylighting and solar-powered, internally actuated diffusers.
The building’s lighting systems are designed to improve the work environment, while only consuming .56 watts per square foot. Solar energy is produced from an 8.58 kW monocrystalline solar photovoltaic system on the southeast-facing roof, which provides 17 percent of the building’s annual power usage.
The Edge: Atlanta, Georgia
This renovation of a 1946 building in Atlanta earned LEED Platinum certification in 2011, and an 84 Energy Star rating in 2012. To achieve this, The Edge added a roof monitor to provide natural light and light fixtures with daylight-responsive dimming to provide indoor lighting when needed. A 5kW photovoltaic system also contributes to energy savings.
A green roof and low-flow plumbing features contributed to the project's sustainable construction. The Edge also used local and reclaimed materials, including salvaged maple floors from a former textile mill in South Carolina.
These examples are just a snapshot of the impact Energy Star has had on LEED-certified buildings. These voluntary rating systems are transforming buildings and communities, one project at a time.