Develop programs and policies

Through ENERGY STAR, EPA provides simple, comparable energy performance benchmarks for commercial and institutional buildings. Using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, EPA’s online energy and water tracking tool, you can access hundreds of metrics that make it easy to understand how any building is performing. Having this information at your fingertips can be a powerful motivator for change and lead to substantial energy efficiency improvements.

That’s why so many state and local governments have already incorporated ENERGY STAR into their energy efficiency programs and policies. The 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR scores and other performance metrics provide a consistent, standard basis for measuring and conveying energy performance. And since it’s a federally backed program from EPA, there’s no cost to use any ENERGY STAR tools or resources.

Validate the results of your incentive programs with ENERGY STAR.

Whether you’re considering tax breaks for energy-efficient new buildings or rebates for existing buildings, you can use ENERGY STAR tools to verify that energy efficiency investments are producing real-world results. Here are just a few ways to use EPA’s objective metrics and guidance to validate the results of your incentive programs:

  • Require new development project teams to estimate the intended energy performance of building designs in Portfolio Manager and continue monitoring and reporting actual performance after construction and occupancy. Learn more about how ENERGY STAR ensures top performance of commercial new construction.
  • Ask retrofit teams to measure before-and-after energy use in Portfolio Manager to verify that energy-saving projects produced the expected results. Find out more about how to use Portfolio Manager to assess performance and verify results.
  • Make incentives available to owners of high performing buildings and use ENERGY STAR certification as a path for eligibility.

Address energy efficiency in affordable housing.

Energy costs impact the long-term price tag of a home. To help ensure affordable housing stays affordable, ENERGY STAR offers proven, turn-key solutions that can be deployed via housing policies and programs to cost-effectively increase energy efficiency for low-income households. These solutions reduce energy costs and save money by making homes more affordable, sustainable, and livable for lower-income families while helping the environment.

Empower tenants.

With just a little guidance, commercial tenants can help drive demand for energy efficient buildings.

  • Borrow from our guidance to tenants, providing tips on how to ensure energy efficiency during lease, build-out, and occupancy.
  • Learn about Denver’s “Lease for Efficiency Challenge,” encouraging businesses to ask one powerful little question when they lease space: “What is this building’s 1-100 ENERGY STAR score?”

Incorporate ENERGY STAR in your energy disclosure policies.

A growing number of local and state governments are calling on commercial building owners and operators to benchmark the energy performance of their buildings and make the results available, either publicly or prior to sale or lease. By making energy performance information transparent, these state and local governments are driving demand for greater energy efficiency in the marketplace.

From Boston to Seattle, state and local governments are choosing ENERGY STAR tools to help them implement their energy disclosure policies. Through ENERGY STAR, EPA offers a consistent, credible method to assess the energy performance of the whole building in a single snapshot — from operations and maintenance to building systems to how occupants are using the building. It’s based on actual, measured data, and provides a snapshot of how a building is performing in the real-world, not in models or extrapolations.  

And EPA provides the same world-class support to local governments that choose to implement energy disclosure policies as any major end-user of Portfolio Manager.  

Don’t forget the energy-water connection.

Did you know? Water and wastewater utility energy consumption is generally on the order of 30 – 60 percent of a city’s energy bill.[1] By better managing energy consumption and identifying areas for improvement at your utility, you’ll hedge against steadily rising energy costs.

Any utility can use Portfolio Manager to benchmark their energy performance and track progress over time. Wastewater treatment plants can also receive a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score, which compares their energy performance to similar plants nationwide.

  • Find out more about how to use Portfolio Manager and consider addressing energy use at your utilities as part of a comprehensive energy management program.

Additional resources

  • The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) is a nonprofit organization promoting energy efficiency, green building, and environmental protection in the United States and abroad. IMT's work addresses market failures that inhibit investment in energy efficiency and sustainability in the building sector.
  • is a hub for global activity in building energy rating and disclosure policy. Learn how energy rating works, compare local policies, and gain access to the resources you need to understand how rating and disclosure affects your community
ENERGY STAR Tenant Space