(Last updated 04/07/2021)
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many buildings in the United States operate. We have assessed the impact of these changes on 1-100 ENERGY STAR scores and have updated some of our guidance accordingly. Our first priority continues to be the health and safety of all of our stakeholders. The guidance below will allow more of you to apply for ENERGY STAR certification while complying with the recommendations of medical experts for reducing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
NOTE: This information applies only to commercial buildings in the U.S. Natural Resources Canada will be issuing separate guidance for Canadian stakeholders. In addition, no changes have been made to ENERGY STAR certification for industrial plants.
Guidance on Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager (U.S. Commercial Buildings Only)
Updating Use Details
All buildings should update the following use details to reflect changes in operations due to COVID-19:
- Weekly Operating Hours (K-12 schools: Update entry for “Weekend Operations (yes/no)”)
- Number of Workers on Main Shift (Hospitals: Update value for “Number of Full-Time Equivalent Workers”)
Only these specific use details should be updated to account for changes due to COVID-19. All other inputs, such as “Number of Computers” (for offices and other building types), “Number of Staffed Beds” (for hospitals), etc. should only be updated if the changes were NOT due to the impacts of COVID-19.
See this FAQ for more details on updating use details.
Guidance on Applying for ENERGY STAR Certification
Due to COVID, some of our certification rules have been modified.
Eligibility for 2021 Certification
All buildings may now apply for 2021 certification with eligible Period Ending Dates (PEDs) of October 31, 2020 or later (regardless of whether or not their operations were impacted by COVID-19). Eligible PEDs are 11 months after your last certification, with one exception. There are additional exceptions for retail stores, hotels, and K-12 schools:
Retail Stores must not have been completely shut down for more than 60 days during the 12-month period covered by the application. See this FAQ for details.
Hotels must not have been completely shut down for more than 60 days during the 12-month period covered by the application. See this FAQ for details.
K-12 Schools must have been operational with any number of students in the school facility for at least 6 months of the regular school year covered in the 12-month application period. See this FAQ for details.
Site Visit Flexibilities
Some buildings have additional options for Site Visits. These flexibilities are designed to help you meet site visit requirements as we realize that it may be some time before buildings return to normal operations:
If your building received a 2020 ENERGY STAR certification and a site visit was conducted for that application within the 2020 calendar year, you may reuse that site visit for your 2021 application.
If your building is occupied but not yet fully re-occupied, as long as any portion of the building has occupants you may conduct the site visit and take measurements in the spaces where occupants are present.
New site visits may be conducted anytime during the application period, or until the 2021 application deadline.
We have suspended the rule that requires you to submit verified applications within 120 days after the Period Ending Date (PED) for any applications with a PED of October 31, 2020, or later.