Emma Hughes

See our breakdown of changes to come in August.

The U.S. EPA is in the process of updating its Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool to incorporate CBECS data from the results of the 2012 survey. At this time, the source energy conversion factors used in all Energy Star score models will also be updated. The update is expected to take place in August 2018 and is expected to impact all building Energy Star scores.

Changes to be made are summarized on the Energy Star buildings FAQ site, and include the building types below. Further down, you will see how these changes may affect your LEED projects.

Property types to be updated

The underlying Energy Star models for the following property types will be updated with 2012 CBECS data:

  • Office, financial office, bank, courthouse
  • Retail
  • Supermarket
  • K–12 school
  • Hotel
  • Warehouse
  • Worship facility

Scores and metrics for all property types will be updated with revised site-to-source factors. These factors are updated to reflect the current energy market.

National median values will be updated based on the 2012 CBECS data. Data center benchmarking options will be updated to offer the use of Estimated IT Energy to get a score and certification.

Energy Star recommends that projects pursue 2018 Energy Star certification prior to June 2018, in case their property’s score changes, rather than waiting for the 2018 update to go into place.

Existing building projects pursuing LEED

Project performance under LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M) under LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings EAp Minimum Energy Efficiency Performance and EAc Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance, and under LEED O+M under LEED v4 EAp Minimum Energy Performance and EAc Optimize Energy Performance will be impacted by the updates listed above, as Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager tool is used to benchmark and document energy performance. The EPA has indicated that there is no way to forecast the change in score for any particular property or property type.

In order to prevent project teams from being penalized by these updates under the LEED certification process, and to allow time for the market to adjust, an alternative approach to documenting compliance will be temporarily allowed for projects pursuing certification under LEED O+M for Existing Buildings under LEED 2009 and for LEED O+M under LEED v4. The terms of this temporary allowance are outlined in LEED Interpretation 10473.

It is important to note that projects using this allowance for LEED certification must download the necessary documentation from Portfolio Manager (e.g., Data Verification Checklist, proof of weather-normalized source EUI, etc.) prior to the date that the updates go into effect. After the update, previous scores, including all historical scores, will no longer be accessible.

If issues are identified with the documentation provided using this allowance, and the Energy Star score cannot be confirmed with confidence, GBCI reserves the right to limit achievement to the prerequisite only if it’s likely to be met, or to require documentation using the updated Portfolio Manager tool and a performance period that aligns with the remainder of the submittal.

Projects registered in LEED O+M that are planning to undergo significant energy system upgrades in 2018 should contact GBCI to discuss the details of their certification and allowances for LEED certification.

Contact GBCI