(Last updated 02/24/2020)
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 United States. 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 2021 ENERGY STAR certification (U.S. commercial buildings only)
With the exception of some K-12 schools, retail stores, and hotels, all buildings may now apply for 2021 ENERGY STAR certification using any Period Ending Date of 10/31/2020 or later.
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) for all time periods, even if they continue to be impacted by 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.
- Apply for 2021 certification with any Period Ending Date on or after 10/31/2020.
- Submit your application whenever it is possible – the requirement to submit within 120 days of the Period Ending Date is currently suspended.
- Reuse a site visit from an approved 2020 application if your site visit was conducted during calendar year 2020.
- Conduct a 2021 site visit by taking measurements in areas of the building where workers are present even if the building is not fully occupied. Site visits can be performed at any time during the 12-month application period or until the 2021 application deadline.