By Farid Nat, Engineering Analyst &
Devin Takekawa, Engineering Analyst
Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)
How Can We Help You Become Certified
As technology and society advances through the 20th century, America’s energy consumption continues to rise in forms of electricity, natural gas, and steam. High rise buildings in cities such as New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC can be linked to using most of the United States energy supply. Some of these buildings can host over 2000+ people which requires an abundance of energy to power the air conditioning systems, lighting, and water usage. There are virtually no laws when it comes to energy consumption, as long as the buildings continue to pay their bills, the building will continue to operate. Some building owners may ask; how can we be more sustainable and improve the energy efficiency for our building?
In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created “ENERGY STAR” which was a program to label products that have a very small effect on the environment and are energy efficient. It wasn’t until the year of 1996 that ENERGY STAR would allow commercial and industrial buildings to earn the ENERGY STAR label and award . Going through the ENERGY STAR application and requirements is a great way for your building to become energy efficient and sustainable to the environment. Earning this achievement can lead to many great things such as energy savings, recognition from the EPA, and a certification and window decal to display in the office space.
To become an ENERGY STAR rated building, your energy consumption will be compared to other buildings that are roughly the same in size, population, and region. Green building experts will then analyze your energy data for a time period that is equivalent of one year. After submitting your data by using tables, graphs, and charts to the ENERGY STAR organization, you will then receive a score ranging from 0-100, with 100 being the highest score achievable and represents a building that is outstanding in energy efficiency. If the building scores a 75 or higher, it indicates that it performs better than 75% of the buildings that are similar to yours and will receive credit for being ENERGY STAR rated!
Why ENERGY STAR
ENERGY STAR certifications can go a long way in not only creating a better future for the environment, but also in providing benefits for the building owners, managers, and tenants. Receiving this certification not only means that the building is running more efficiently, but it is also reducing costs of building operation. Compared to normal buildings that are not ENERGY STAR certified, certified buildings use 35% less energy and release 35% fewer emissions in terms of greenhouse gases. On top of this, certified buildings save on average $0.54 per square foot of space, which in 2019 resulted in a total savings of $1.4 billion across 5600 buildings. One of our projects here at SIG, was the The Towers at Wildwood Plaza in Atlanta, which had an ENERGY STAR score of 89 in 2019 compared to 75 in 2017. This increase in score by 12 was because of a 32% decrease in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions which also meant the building saved money.
However, this certification doesn’t just mean you are saving money and energy, but it also provides the opportunity for increased income as a building or company. Many prospective building tenants or employees would want to know about the owner’s commitment to causes like protecting the environment, and ENERGY STAR provides a means to do this. ENERGY STAR is a reliable and well-known benchmarking tool, so having this certification can show this commitment and increase profit. In fact, certified buildings can have a 4% increase in occupancy, and these certifications increase building value and potentially rent prices, increasing income. Also, many cities and states are beginning regulations on energy efficiencies for newly constructed buildings, so ENERGY STAR certifications provide a way to get ahead of the curve, so if changes in these regulations occur in the future, costs can be reduced. There are a variety of marketing opportunities that can come along with getting certified as well, such as the window decal that can promote the work that you have done to increase your energy efficiency. Essentially, ENERGY STAR certifications are a great way to reduce your environmental footprint and costs, while opening the door to many new opportunities.
Why choose SIG for assistance in your ENERGY STAR certification?
In 2019 the Sustainable Investment Group(SIG) helped certify over 300 buildings to be ENERGY STAR rated. This is also the fifth year in a row that SIG has earned the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award. With our team, we can make sure that we will try to maximize your buildings ENERGY STAR score. Our green building Engineers and Consultants are able to analyze your buildings energy usage to provide tips and recommendations to improve your previous ENERGY STAR score as well! If interested in learning more about ENERGY STAR and our company, Sustainable Investment Group, visit www.sigearth.com and see how your building can become certified!
 Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), Department of Energy(DOE), About ENERGY STAR and Buildings, March 30, 2020. https://www.energystar.gov/about
 Atlanta Business Chronicle, https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2014/09/17/towers-at-wildwood-plaza-bought-for-144m.html
 Sustainable Investment Group(SIG), http://sigearth.com/
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