Criteria for Rating Building Energy Performance
All types of commercial and institutional buildings can use Portfolio Manager to track and benchmark energy use over time. Certain types of buildings can go a step further and benchmark energy use relative to the national population of similar buildings. In Portfolio Manager this benchmark is called a national energy performance rating and is expressed on a scale of 1 to 100. In order to be eligible for an energy performance rating, buildings must meet several criteria. These criteria can be organized as followed:
The energy performance rating system compares your building to its peer group of similar buildings in the national population. This peer group is identified through the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), a nationally representative survey conducted quadrennially by the Department of Energy. In order to identify your building's group of peers, more than 50% of the building's gross floor area (excluding parking lots and garages) must be defined by one of the following space types:
The remainder of your building may be occupied by other space types in Portfolio Manager, subject to the following restrictions:
- The combined floor area of all enclosed and not enclosed parking structures cannot exceed the total gross floor area of the building (where the gross floor area of the building excludes the parking floor area).
- The combined floor area of any space classified as “Other” (e.g. library, restaurant, cafeteria, etc.) cannot exceed 10% of the total gross floor area of the building (where gross floor area of the building excludes the parking floor area).
- The combined floor area of all Multifamily Housing spaces cannot exceed 10% of the total gross floor area of the building (where the gross floor area of the building excludes the parking floor area).
- If your building is a Hospital (i.e. if Hospital accounts for more than 50% of your space) the only other spaces that may be entered are:
- Data Center
- Swimming Pool
- If your building is a Municipal Wastewater Treatment plant it cannot be combined with any other space types.
For properties consisting of multiple space types, please refer to the mixed-use benchmarking guidance.
Portfolio Manager asks you to enter data for key operating characteristics for each space in your building. There are minimum and maximum thresholds for these values. These limits are designed to make sure that your building falls into an operation pattern consistent with that of the peer group used for comparison. In order to be eligible to receive a national energy performance rating:
- All buildings must:
- be at least 5,000 ft², with four exceptions:
- If the building is a bank, it may be as small as 1,000 square foot
- If the building is a hospital, it must be at least 20,000 square foot
- If the building is a house of worship, it may be as small as 1,000 square foot
- Data Centers do not have a square foot minimum.
- be in operation at least 30 hours per week with two exceptions:
- This does not apply to buildings that are not asked for hours of operation, such as Hotels and Hospitals
- This does not apply to Houses of Worship.
- Contain at least 1 worker during the main shift for applicable space types. For hospitals, include at least 1 “Full-time Equivalent (FTE)” worker
- All office, bank,and courthouse spaces must contain at least 1 Personal Computer (PC). Retail stores must contain at least 1 register but can have 0 personal computers.
- Buildings must meet the following occupancy requirements when applying for the ENERGY STAR label (only).
- Offices must have more than 50% average annual occupancy. For information on how to account for vacant space, refer to this FAQ.
- Hotels must have at least 55% average annual occupancy (i.e. less than 45% vacancy)
- K-12 Schools must operate for at least 8 months of the year
- If the facility is a hospital, it must include:
- At least 1 bed set up and staffed for use
- At least 1 full-time equivalent worker
- If the facility is a retail store, it must:
- Be a single store only. This includes free standing stores, stores located in a strip or open-air shopping centers, and enclosed mall anchor stores. (Requirement when applying for the ENERGY STAR label only.)
- Have an exterior entrance to the public.
- Residence halls/Dormitories must contain at least 5 rooms.
- If the facility is a hotel, it must include at least one room
- Houses of Worship must have at least 25 seats and no more than 4,000 seats
- Senior Care Facilities cannot have an Average Number of Residents that exceeds the Resident Capacity.
- Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants must have:
- Average daily wastewater flow greater than 0.6 million gallons per day (MGD)
- Average influent biological oxygen demand (BOD5) level greater than 30 and less than 1000
- Average effluent BOD5 level greater than 0
Summary Table (132KB)
The requirements listed above are summarized in a numerical table for quick reference.
To receive an energy performance rating, you must enter energy meters that account for all energy use (regardless of fuel type) in the building. To ensure accurate analysis, EPA applies limitations on this data which are as followed:
- There must be at least 11 full consecutive calendar months of energy data for all active meters. If there are multiple meters, there must be 11 consecutive and overlapping months.
- No individual electrical meter entry can be for a period longer than 65 days.