Step 1: Include efficiency in your project specs

The first step to designing to earn the ENERGY STAR is to set it as a goal from the beginning. This can be done in one of two ways:

If you’re working with an existing design team, tell them that your organization requires that design projects be designed to earn the ENERGY STAR. Sometimes it can be helpful to have the directive come from senior management. Use one of our ready-made presentations to sell others on the idea of ENERGY STAR and educate your project team.

If you’ll need to solicit bids from outside architecture firms, make it clear in your RFP that designing to earn the ENERGY STAR is a requirement for the project.

Below are suggested project requirements:

  • If your building can receive a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score, set a desired target score (75 is the minimum score required for ENERGY STAR certification)
  • If your building can’t receive a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score, set an energy reduction target as compared to the national median. (Download a table of national average energy performance medians.)
  • Require the use of Portfolio Manager or Target Finder (EPA’s online tools that assess the energy performance of a design project relative to other similar buildings nationwide)
  • Require that the architect/engineer apply for Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR recognition, if eligible
  • Require that the building be commissioned once built. (Hire a commissioning expert now.)

View our sample energy performance specifications.

See the list of A/E firms that have designed projects that achieved Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR.

Can my building receive a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score?

All types of buildings can follow these steps to ensure an energy-efficient building. However, only certain building types can be designed to earn the ENERGY STAR. See the list of eligibility criteria to earn a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score.