Step 3: Apply for Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR recognition

Relax! Your architect or engineer will complete this step. However, you should familiarize yourself with the process below, so you can follow up with your team and ensure every step has been completed.

  1. First, your architects and engineers design the building. Easy, right? Then, based on these initial designs, they’ll use third-party modeling software to estimate the energy use of the building. They’ll then enter the estimated energy use and information about the building into one of EPA’s free online energy performance assessment tools: Portfolio Manager or Target Finder. Either will work for this step! (Not familiar with these tools? Compare Target Finder and Portfolio Manager and learn how they both work.)
  2. For certain eligible property types, Portfolio Manager and Target Finder compute a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score. The score represents your building’s energy performance relative to similar buildings nationwide. A score of 50 is the median. A score of 75 means that the building is expected to perform better than 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide. For building types that can’t get a score, the tools calculate the percent better than national median. The tools also calculate all associated energy, cost, and emissions data.
  3. A building must receive a score of 75 or higher to be eligible to earn Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR recognition.
  4. If the design scores lower than a 75, the architects and engineers must make changes to their design to improve the energy efficiency of the building. They can use EPA’s tools as many times as they want during this process, with the goal of getting a score of 75 or higher.
  5. Once the design achieves a 75 or higher, the architects and engineers use Portfolio Manager to generate an application for Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR recognition from EPA. There is no cost to apply for recognition. The application will include the following:
  1. A hard copy of the application must be mailed to EPA.
  2. EPA will review the application and notify the project’s architect of record once it’s been approved.

See who else has achieved Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR.

The ENERGY STAR Challenge for Architects

Join the nationwide competition to submit projects that have achieved Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR! Learn more about the ENERGY STAR Challenge for Architects.

Why you need to sign an "Owner’s Letter of Intent"

Once the architect and design team’s job is done, this building becomes part of your organization’s energy management program. Just because the building is expected to earn the ENERGY STAR doesn’t mean it will. You are an important part of the cycle, and your committing to measure the operational performance now will help ensure that the cycle continues.