I don’t talk about my work much in the blog but when I was thinking back to what I did that was green today, a work thing popped into my head. Today I received notification that the five Energy Star building certifications I had applied for were approved. Energy Star for Buildings is a certification that indicates that your building is in the top 25% for energy efficiency for buildings of the same type in the United States. Typically Energy Star buildings use 35% less energy per square foot than average buildings of the same type.
|Photo of Energy Star Plaque|
Energy Star groups buildings into types such as schools, office buildings, houses of worship, hospitals, etc. It takes into account a variety of operating characteristics as well as things like the square footage of the building, local weather and most importantly, energy usage.
If you see an Energy Star Plaque on a building, that tells you a number of things. It tells you that the building uses energy efficiently. It tells you that the lighting, heating and cooling meet code and are reasonable for a building of that type. Most importantly, it tells you that the people that work with this building care enough about energy and the environment to track their energy usage and report it. To receive the Energy Star Certification you have to enter data about all your energy usage into Portfolio Manager which then provides information about how your building compares to its peers, and how your building energy usage has changed over time.
|One of the Energy Star Certified Schools|
I’m always excited to get Energy Star plaques for our schools because I know that 4 years ago these buildings did not qualify for them. Then our facility manager learned about saving energy and money and started making changes to how the building systems are managed. We’ve now received the certification 3 years in a row. I work with the facility manager to make sure that we do energy efficient upgrades, that the gas & electric utility helps pay for the upgrades and that regular maintenance gets done on the systems so that they will continue to run efficiently and last longer. When we get the Energy Star plaques it reaffirms for us that we are doing a good job, reducing energy usage, reducing green house gas emissions and saving money for our community. Yay us!
FYI, Energy Star for Homes exists too, but that’s another story for another day.