ENERGY STAR Scoring Updates Coming August 2018

On August 26, 2018 the EPA will update the performance metrics for various building types in Portfolio Manager based on the most recent market data available from the 2012 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS). CBECS is a national sample survey conducted by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) that collects energy-related building characteristics and energy usage data.



Buildings nationwide have become more energy efficient since the publication of the previous (2003) CBECS dataset that formed the basis for ENERGY STAR scores. The graph below shows the average annual energy consumption (roughly 80 kBtu/sf) to be the lowest since the inception of the survey in 1979.

The ENERGY STAR program seeks to reflect the transformation of the US building stock, which has adopted newer technologies and energy efficiency best management practices overall. By updating the dataset for the first time in nearly 15 years, the following will change in Portfolio Manager:

  • Median energy use for each property type
  • Relationships between operating characteristics (e.g. hours, workers, computers) and energy use intensity
    • Example: computers are more energy efficient on average so the same number of computers reported now would result in a lower expected energy use as compared to before.
  • Additional variables will be incorporated into the scoring model for certain property types
    • K-12 Schools must now report Number of Workers, while Number of Computers and Walk-in Refrigeration/Freezer Units will no longer contribute to the score.
    • Supermarkets must now report Number of Open/Closed Refrigeration Units, while Cooking Facilities? (Yes/No) no longer contributes to the score.
    • All warehouses must now indicate % of gross floor area used for cold storage.
    • Refrigerated warehouses must now indicated % area that can be heated/cooled.
    • Worship facilities must now indicate gross floor area used for food preparation AND % area that can be heated/cooled.



  • Data Centers

There will be an option to use estimated IT Energy for data centers to obtain a score and certification if the data center does not exceed 10% of the property’s gross floor area. This estimate will be calculated in Portfolio Manager and is beneficial when submetering IT energy is not an option.

  • Source Energy Factor

The source energy factor accounts for different fuel types by tracing the energy requirements from the building back to the raw fuel input (Coal, gas, steam, hydro, etc.) The new national average for the source electricity factor will be slightly lower, resulting in buildings receiving a credit or penalty based on their fuel-mix ratio. However, compared to the other 2018 updates, the effects from this will be relatively small.



As a result, many scores are expected to drop, for example, EPA estimates the average Office building will see an 8 point drop, as there has been a statistically significant reduction in energy use intensity (EUI) across the sector since 2003. The property types below that are not grayed out are included in CBECS and thus will be affected by the updates:

EPA estimates the following average changes in scores per property type:

  • Offices: -8
  • K-12 Schools: -15
  • Warehouses: +3
  • Retail Stores and Supermarkets: -12
  • Hotels: +2
  • Worship Facilities: -8


Make sure to apply for your 2018 ENERGY STAR award by July 25th, 2018 to ensure your application is evaluated using pre-update scores!

All buildings with updated data and scores 75 or above are now eligible to apply for a 2018 ENERGY STAR award regardless of when a 2017 award application was submitted last year.


Please note: the entire history of your property’s metrics will be recalibrated, so you will still be able to examine a continuous historical energy efficiency trend. ENERGY STAR awards received in previous years will not be modified or revoked.


Contact Beau Garrett, PE, LEED AP O+M, WELL AP, Programs Specialist at if you are interested in submitting your 2018 ENERGY STAR application, or benchmarking your building’s energy consumption for the first time.

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