Why you should design to earn the ENERGY STAR

Market demand for sustainable buildings is up, and your clients are looking for more ways to save energy, cut costs, and reduce their carbon footprint. They’re learning that a profitable path to achieve these goals is to make their commercial building portfolios more energy efficient.

Are you ready to help? With ENERGY STAR, you will be.

Get verification from a nationally recognized program.

A design project that achieves Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR recognition meets strict EPA criteria for estimated energy performance. It signifies that, once built, the building is poised to achieve top energy performance — and to be eligible to earn ENERGY STAR certification.

Leading A/E firms choose ENERGY STAR because it provides an objective and nationally recognized method of establishing and meeting energy performance goals. Using the 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score, it also gives you an easy and effective way to convey intended energy performance to your clients.

Differentiate your firm from the competition.

Use your partnership with ENERGY STAR to demonstrate your commitment and expertise in delivering high performance buildings. Show new and prospective clients that you’ve achieved Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR recognition for your design projects.

You can provide them with details on how these building designs are intended to save energy and money over the life of the building, have lower operating costs, higher rental rates, and increased asset value. And how they’ll be more comfortable, too. Check out 10 reasons to pursue ENERGY STAR certification.

Deliver financial benefits to your clients.

A/E firms in the United States expect the following financial benefits from green building projects1:

New green buildings
Decreased operating costs (over one year)   11%
Decreased operating costs (over five years)  28%
Payback time for green investments             7 years

Green building retrofits
Decreased operating costs (over one year)   11%
Decreased operating costs (over five years)  14%
Payback time for green investments             4 years

Compare designs.

Energy purchased to operate a building now constitutes the highest cost in the lifecycle of many buildings. You can use EPA tools during the design process to compare different design strategies and fuel sources, plan for “what-if” scenarios, and help your clients validate investments in energy-efficient options.

After all, it’s a common misperception that new buildings are inherently more energy efficient thanks to modern technologies. But good design makes all the difference. Learn more about why new doesn’t always mean efficient.

Meet the Architecture 2030 Challenge and the AIA 2030 Commitment.

Has your firm committed to either of these initiatives? If so, ENERGY STAR can help you reach your goals. And while you’re at it, sign up for the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Architects, a friendly competition to submit projects that have been Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR.

Show leadership in the built environment.

More and more companies are demanding sustainable designs to reflect their principles and meet corporate social responsibility goals. Likewise, many A/E firms have committed to delivering building designs that prove green design is good design … and can still be cost-effective.

By achieving Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR recognition, you signal to the market that your building design is intended to perform in the top 25 percent of the nation’s most energy-efficient buildings. Use it to raise expectations and awareness of energy efficiency in your industry.


1 World Green Building Trends: Business Benefits Driving New and Retrofit Market Opportunities in Over 60 Countries, McGraw-Hill Construction Research & Analytics, 2013.

We’re already pursuing LEED. Why do we need ENERGY STAR?

The short answer: Do both to ensure your clients are getting superior energy performance.
Why? LEED awards points for sustainable design features, one of which is energy efficiency. However, to achieve LEED certification, buildings don’t need to meet the same rigorous energy performance level required for ENERGY STAR certification.
The best way to ensure that you deliver superior energy performance — and savings — to your clients is through ENERGY STAR.