The first step toward improving the efficiency of your building and reducing associated energy expenses is to track your building’s energy performance using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®, EPA’s free energy measurement and tracking tool. In doing so, you will be able measure and analyze performance and cost data, compare your building’s performance to others in your portfolio and similar buildings nationwide, and set baselines and efficiency goals to inform your energy management plan. As you become familiar with the tracking tool, you can also explore other the features that allow you to track waste and water consumption, as well.
Industry Best Practices
Many of the most effective energy efficiency measures for small- and medium-sized office spaces can be implemented at little or no cost to building owners and tenants. Many relate to improving the building’s operations and maintenance (O&M) processes, such as by ensuring HVAC equipment is clean and running properly, and scheduling it to turn down during off hours. Others are quick fixes based on behavioral changes among office employees, such as reducing lighting and electricity usage. Check out these industry best practices (PDF, 169 KB) to help kick-start your energy management efforts.
Energy Treasure Hunt for Office Buildings
A great way to find hidden energy savings in your office building is to conduct an Energy Treasure Hunt. During an Energy Treasure Hunt, individuals or teams walk around a building looking for low- and no-cost ways to save energy. This organized approach offers a way to identify and document quick fixes that can all add up to big savings. Hundreds of organizations have used Energy Treasure Hunts to reduce their facilities’ energy use by up to 15 percent. Check out EPA's ENERGY STAR’s Treasure Hunt resources to start planning your energy Treasure Hunt, and the Treasure Map for Office Buildings (PDF, 200 KB) that can be used as a roadmap for identifying key improvements.
Before you begin to implement energy efficiency measures, there are a few key considerations that can help you maximize the impact of improvements and achieve the greatest financial return on your investments. Local utilities and energy programs in your area may offer incentives for implementing efficiency projects. For example, many utilities around the country offer incentives and discounts to purchase and install energy-efficient lighting, such as LED bulbs or linear tubes, which already have significant impacts on reducing energy consumption, and can provide a quick return on investment through lower electric bills.
If you’re interested in outside help or want to bring in an expert with experience in this area, there are numerous Service and Product Providers that offer technical assistance and financing options. Some may also offer incentives such as free or discounted energy audits, to help you improve the energy efficiency of your building. ENERGY STAR maintains a convenient search tool that allows anyone to find an ENERGY STAR Service and Product Provider in their area.
For more information on how to locate incentives and how to engage with service providers, check out these guidelines for leveraging experts and incentives (PDF, 152 KB).
Many tenants of sustainable office buildings report lower utility costs and improved employee health and comfort levels. These positive factors can lead to increased tenant retention and assist in attracting future tenants with similar needs and values. However, it can be challenging to effectively communicate the value of sustainable office spaces to prospective tenants if they are not already familiar with these benefits. Use these these leasing and marketing (PDF, 169 KB) to promote your efficient office building, attract new building tenants, and increase retention rates.