Pro bono verification of ENERGY STAR applications

Not all buildings can afford to certify

ENERGY STAR certification is no-cost, but applications do require review by a professional engineer or a registered architect who is able to verify that energy performance and indoor environmental conditions meet EPA’s standards. Even though the cost for verification is modest compared to other third-party certifications, many building owners simply cannot afford this fee.

Pro bono service is a solution

EPA is connecting these building owners with licensed professionals who are willing to provide verification services on a cost-free, pro bono basis. By performing this valuable public service, licensed professionals will significantly increase the number of ENERGY STAR certified buildings, inspire others to raise the performance level of their facilities, and help an organization of their choice that otherwise would not be recognized for their outstanding achievement.

Providing free verification services benefits licensed professionals as well: it builds relationships and name recognition with nonprofit and public sector building owners and managers; develops the marketable skill of verifying ENERGY STAR certification applications; allows for national visibility through listing on the ENERGY STAR Licensed Professional Directory; and helps maintain eligibility for ENERGY STAR SPP partnership for the company employing the LP.

Get started

Licensed professionals have two options for pursuing this opportunity. First, EPA is compiling an updated list of professionals willing to provide free verification, which will be hosted on the ENERGY STAR website. Interested professionals can request to be included on the list by emailing their name, company, phone number, email, and geographic areas served to SPP@cadmusgroup.com.

Second, licensed professionals can also find building owners requesting free verification in their local area by visiting the matching tool provided by Public Architecture, described below.

Matchup: Find a building. 

EPA has partnered with Public Architecture’s 1+ program to launch a service to match ENERGY STAR-eligible buildings owned by nonprofits and government agencies with architects and engineers willing to verify applications on a cost-free, "pro bono" basis.

Building owners use the site to list their project(s) and request pro bono services. Licensed professionals can search the directory and respond to requests for pro bono service, and can also create a profile to be visible to building owners searching the site. The guidance on page two of this factsheet explains how to create a 1+ account, find a building owner seeking services, and reach out to them to discuss next steps.

The service launched in May 2016. Check to find a pro bono opportunity near you (for non-profit buildings only). Use of the 1+ tool is not a requirement; pro bono matching may also be done independently.

Architects: Earn CEUs by providing a public service

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and EPA have partnered to help architects earn up to eight (8) annual Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) continuing education units (CEUs) for reducing carbon emissions in the built environment.

Registered architects who attend a no-cost ENERGY STAR training webinar will earn one CEU. Those who validate, pro bono, one or more building applications for ENERGY STAR certification will receive seven HSW CEUs, for a total of eight CEUs annually. The AlA will provide credit for verifying any eligible building, regardless of ownership status (e.g. non-profit, for-profit).

To earn CEUs from AIA, registered architects must:

  1. Sign up to attend one of the free one-hour training sessions on how to verify applications for ENERGY STAR certification.
     
  2. Pass a short EPA administered quiz to demonstrate knowledge of EPA expectations. Quiz will be accessible at the end of the training session.
     
  3. Be matched with a building that requests pro bono verification. Finding a match can be done independently or through Public Architecture’s free 1+ matching tool (for non-profit buildings only).
     
  4. Verify your client building’s utility bills, operational details, and indoor environmental conditions. Affix your professional stamp to the ENERGY STAR application.
     
  5. Submit the signed verification letter to EPA. Once your client has submitted the completed ENERGY STAR application, you will receive continuing education credit(s) from AIA.

Professional credentialing associations

AIA is the first professional association to offer pro bono verifications as a way for members to obtain or maintain their professional credentials.

By using its credentialing program to increase the number of ENERGY STAR certified buildings, AIA aims to increase awareness of the benefits of energy-efficient, low-carbon buildings within the profession and across the nation.

Learn more about how your association can partner with ENERGY STAR to enable your members to provide pro bono verifications as a public service by visiting our help desk and clicking “Ask a Question.”

Check out a new case study on how Hope Christian Reformed Church has improved its energy savings by using Pro Bono verification services!

Tools and Resources for Licensed Professionals (LPs)

Instructions for using the 1+ Matching Tool

Public Architecture’s 1+ program connects nonprofits and government agencies with LPs who provide pro bono services. These instructions walk you through creating a cost-free account and logging your request, so that you can connect with interested professionals.

LP guide

The LP guide provides everything you need to know about verifying applications for ENERGY STAR certification. It outlines the step-by-step process and is required reading if you’re verifying applications for ENERGY STAR certification.

Pro bono validation letter

Have your building client print this out on company letterhead. A signed letter from the owner to EPA will validate your services were provided on a pro bono basis. EPA will notify your credentialing association upon receipt.

Cost-free ENERGY STAR verification for your building

This guide provides step-by-step instructions for how to find an architect or engineer offering pro bono ENERGY STAR verification services for your building.

Presentation on free verification of ENERGY STAR certification applications

These slides from a September 13, 2016 ENERGY STAR webinar provide background on ENERGY STAR certification, the role of the licensed professional, and details of the free verification program.