(Last updated 11/19/2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many buildings in the United States operate. We have assessed the impact of these changes on 1-100 ENERGY STAR scores and have updated some of our guidance accordingly. Our first priority continues to be the health and safety of all of our stakeholders. The guidance below will allow more of you to apply for ENERGY STAR certification while complying with the recommendations of medical experts for reducing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
NOTE: This information applies only to commercial buildings in the U.S. Natural Resources Canada will be issuing separate guidance for Canadian stakeholders. In addition, no changes have been made to ENERGY STAR certification for industrial plants.
Guidance on benchmarking in Portfolio Manager (U.S. commercial buildings only)
Updating use details
All buildings should update the following use details to reflect changes in operations due to COVID-19:
- Weekly Operating Hours (K-12 schools: Update entry for “Weekend Operations (yes/no)”)
- Number of Workers on Main Shift (Hospitals: Update value for “Number of Full-Time Equivalent Workers”)
Only these specific use details should be updated to account for changes due to COVID-19 – all other inputs, such as “Number of Computers” (for offices and other building types), “Number of Staffed Beds” (for hospitals), etc. should only be updated if the changes were NOT due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Guidance on applying for 2020 ENERGY STAR certification (U.S. commercial buildings only)
Timing and deadlines for all buildings
- EPA’s deadline for 2020 certification applications has been extended to February 10, 2021 to provide adequate time for applications with PEDs in October, November, and December 2020.
- We have temporarily suspended the requirement to submit an application for ENERGY STAR certification within 120 days of the application’s Period Ending Date (PED).
Accepted Period Ending Dates (PEDs) for all buildings
After extensive analysis to assess the impacts of extreme changes in operations on ENERGY STAR scores, we can now accept applications for ENERGY STAR certification for ALL BUILDINGS (with the exception of some retail stores, hotels, and K-12 schools as noted below) with a PED through December 31, 2020, regardless of changes in operations which may have occurred due to COVID-19. Exceptions to this eligibility are:
- Retail stores must not have been completely shut down for more than 60 days during the 12-month period covered by the application. Details here.
- Hotels must not have been completely shut down for more than 60 days during the 12-month period covered by the application period. Details here.
- K-12 Schools must have been open and operational with any number of students in the facility for at least 6 months of the 12 month period covered by the application. Details here.
Before applying with PEDs from March-December 2020, applicants must have updated “Number of Workers on Main Shift” (or “Number of Full-Time Equivalent Workers” for hospitals) and “Weekly Operating Hours” (or “Weekend Operations (yes/no)” for K-12 schools) use details as needed to reflect such changes. Applications must also include a detailed description of how your building’s operations have been impacted by COVID-19.
Flexibilities for site visits to buildings affected by COVID-19 are available including reusing a site visit from an approved 2019 application or conducting a 2020 site visit by taking measurements in areas of the building where workers are present. Find more information in this FAQ.