Sponsors Guide to ENERGY STAR for Commercial Programs
Leverage ENERGY STAR tools and resources for buildings and plants to promote whole-building energy performance improvements within your program portfolio.
Building on the practices of leading energy efficiency program sponsors and the EPA ENERGY STAR partnership, this guide describes the core program elements of a successful building performance program.
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Strategic Energy Management
/ Customer Action Plans
A market segmentation approach is used to target resources at high opportunity sectors and customize programs to meet the needs of each sector.
- Access ENERGY STAR resources targeted at specific markets (e.g. commercial real estate, hospitality, education, etc.) through the sector-specific sections of the Buildings and Plants Web site.
- Use ENERGY STAR's business partner list or certified buildings and plants list to identify potential program participants or energy efficiency champions in your region by market sector.
- See additional Marketing and Communications resources.
Benchmarking with EPA's energy performance scale allows program sponsors and customers to assess building energy performance and track savings over time. Program sponsors can:
- Develop programs that integrate Portfolio Manager and EPA's 1–100 Energy Performance Scale as a key component of program delivery.
- Explain the benefits of benchmarking to customers with the Overview of Portfolio Manager
- Use the Benchmarking Starter Kit to help your customers get started with benchmarking their buildings.
- Leverage Portfolio Manager resources, including the sector-specific Data Trends series, technical reference guides on sector-specific score development, and How To guides on applying for ENERGY STAR certification, getting data into Portfolio Manager, and sharing data with other users in Portfolio Manager.
- Reference technical descriptions and additional supporting documents for details on regression techniques used in EPA's energy performance scale, carbon emissions calculations, and methodologies for incorporating source energy into the metrics provided by Portfolio Manager.
- Learn more about what other utilities are doing to provide data access for benchmarking, and visit the ENERGY STAR Data Access Network to better understand key decision points and considerations related to the provision of improved data access for benchmarking. If you are interested in directly exchanging data with your customers’ Portfolio Manager accounts via the web services application programming interface (API), please visit our extensive technical guidance.
- Provide whole building energy consumption data to your customers through our Data Access Network
- Refer to Portfolio Manager FAQs for additional information.
- Estimate energy performance for new building designs using Target Finder, and provide incentives for customers to achieve the "Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR" recognition for new construction.
- Use EPA's Energy Performance Indicators to assess the performance of industrial facilities in key sectors.
Engaging customers using a strategic energy management framework helps program sponsors build strong, on-going relationships and realize the benefits of having customers repeatedly participate in efficiency programs. Customer Action Plans are used to set goals, prioritize opportunities, and establish management practices. Program sponsors find customer Action Plans to be a useful mechanism for promoting continuous improvement.
- Use the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management and the Energy Management Assessment Matrix as a framework to help customers take a strategic approach to energy management, and to get buy-in from senior management.
- Assist customers with forming effective energy teams, using the "how-to" guide, Teaming Up to Saving Energy.
- Use EPA's Financial Evaluation Tools to quantify savings opportunities and evaluate financing options for your customers.
An integrated approach to improving building performance incorporates capital upgrades, operations and maintenance measures, and behavioral change. By conducting a whole-building performance assessment, program sponsors can identify savings from interactions between building systems, and achieve savings that simple equipment replacements may fail to capture.
Aligning program implementation strategies with an integrated approach to building performance can encourage deeper energy savings. Program sponsors can stimulate customer demand for whole-building upgrades through financial and other incentive strategies, and can partner with trade allies to encourage the delivery of comprehensive services. Incentives can be complemented and reinforced by ENERGY STAR public recognition.
- Offer customers and/or trade allies performance incentives that are based on a target percent energy savings, an improvement in a facility's ENERGY STAR score, or earning the ENERGY STAR.
- Search the list of most active ENERGY STAR Service and Product Providers to identify and partner with trade allies that promote comprehensive energy management upgrades.
- Refer customers to ENERGY STAR resources for the Licensed Professional (Professional Engineer and Registered Architects) verification required before the award of the ENERGY STAR to certified buildings, including the Licensed Professional Directory, the Licensed Professional's Guide.
- Provide incentives that pay for all or part of the cost of the Licensed Professional verification, such as a subsidy for the certification process as found in Consumers Energy’s pilot program (PDF, 509 KB).
- Publicize the success of program participants that have earned the ENERGY STAR.
Re-benchmarking allows both customers and program sponsors to monitor savings, and evaluate the success of energy management efforts.
- Set baselines for energy consumption and targets for improvement in Portfolio Manager.
- Use sharing features in Portfolio Manager to monitor savings across all program participants.
- Facilitate continuous tracking of energy performance scores through web services.
- Promote ENERGY STAR recognition opportunities to motivate energy efficiency achievements, including the ENERGY STAR certification and the Partner of the Year.