Upcoming Changes in Building ENERGY STAR Metrics
Monday, June 25, 2018
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Section: News Roundup




Buildings in California over 50,000 sf must now report annual energy data to the California Energy Commission by June 1st, 2018 – under Assembly Bill 802 requirements. Additionally, ENERGY STAR metrics are changing this August, re-scoring most buildings at a score anywhere from 7-13 points lower on average.
For this reason, it’s imperative to engage your ENERGY STAR accounts before the end of this month. If a building needs to comply with AB 802, and your account needs updating, it’s good to get a head start. And since the ENERGYSTAR scores are changing this August, for 2018 there is a one-time window from April 30th to August 1st to submit for certification under the current scoring methodology, at a higher score.
 
Benchmarking
Energy benchmarking is essentially a two-step process: 1. Tracking energy consumption for 12 months (electricity, natural gas, and any other fuel sources) and 2. Comparing your building’s data with like buildings to understand relative performance. The most-widely used tool to compare building usage across the US is ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, which is also the platform used to comply with local benchmarking ordinances.  Benchmarking gives building management an idea of how well a building is performing, if used regularly, can also identify spikes or anomalies in energy usage, and an opportunity to pursue EnergyStar certification for high performing buildings (score over 75).
 
AB 802
In 2015, the former Assembly Bill 1103 (AB 1103) was rescinded and replaced with AB 802. AB 802 requires commercial buildings over 50,000 sf in California to benchmark and disclose annual energy data, to be submitted to the California Energy Commission on an annual basis. Read on for more details and specifics of what will be required by June 1st, 2018.
 
Across the US, we are seeing more prevalence of mandatory building benchmarking, as cities and states are pursuing long term carbon or energy reduction goals. The Institute of Market Transformation has a great map of where these ordinances are being used (http://www.imt.org/resources/detail/map-u.s.-building-benchmarking-policies ). Organizations partnered with local benchmarking ordinance delivery are also a great resources, such as the LA Better Buildings Challenge resources (https://www.betterbuildingsla.com/ ).
 
In California, we have 3 major cities that require annual benchmarking reporting, and as of June 1st this year, the statewide AB 802 takes effect for commercial buildings 50,000 sf or larger.
 
What does this mean?
 
• If your building is 50,000 sf or larger, a building is required to submit 2017 energy data to the California Energy Commission by June 1st using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager
• Exempted buildings for 2018: 
o Residential buildings
o Buildings where 50% or greater is: 
 Industrial
 Manufacturing
 Science experiments with a controlled environment
o Starting June 1st 2019, all multifamily buildings with 17 units or more will be required to submit for AB 802
o Building owners can request ‘aggregate’ or whole-building energy data from local utilities 
 AB 802 requires utilities to provide this data since January 1, 2017
o This data will be used for the California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to properly forecast California’s energy needs and long-term energy targets
o CEC will begin public disclosure compliance status and energy data for all covered buildings starting in 2019
o Visit http://www.energy.ca.gov/benchmarking/ to see the bill text and for more information

Upcoming changes in ENERGY STAR metrics – CBECS 2012
On August 26th, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager will be updating the baseline, or median data, for comparison with the CBECS 2012 data for the following building types. CBECS is comprised of a national survey conducted roughly every four years by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), from which ENERGSTAR national averages are derived for ENERGYSTAR scoring.  This will also affect the Target Finder tool used for energy design targets for new construction projects.
• Bank branches
• Courthouses
• Financial offices
• Hotels
• Houses of worship
• K-12 schools
• Offices
• Retail, including retail store and warehouse club/supercenter
• Supermarkets
• Warehouses, including refrigerated, non-refrigerated, and distribution centers
After August 26th, Data Center metrics will also be updated.  This will allow estimated IT energy usage, allowing a new path for certification where a sub-meter for IT use is not practical, as well as update the source energy factor used in calculating how much energy is needed at the power generation sources to deliver the site energy usage (what’s shown on billing statements).
As scores will be impacted mid-year, all buildings eligible for 2018 certification will be allowed a one-time exemption to certify early before the score updates (This is usually only allowed approx. twelve months from the previous certification; therefore, all buildings in the system have now been updated to a new eligibility date of April 30th). It is highly recommended that applicants submit before July 26th to guarantee scoring using the current metrics. Projects submitted between July 26th and August 26th may be evaluated under the new scoring metrics depending on the review timeline for the application.