Energy Star Rating Drops, Says DC Buildings’ Benchmarking Report

February 9, 2015 By Linda Hardesty

Washington DCThe District of Columbia recently released its second batch of data from its mandatory energy benchmarking, showing that the median Energy Star score for buildings dropped slightly.

The first benchmarking report, covering private commercial buildings during 2012, found a median Energy Star score of 77 out of 100. But the median reported Energy Star score for private commercial buildings in the District for 2013 was 74 out of 100.

The data from the second annual disclosure of energy consumption for large commercial and multifamily buildings in the city is required by the city’s energy benchmarking law and reflects energy performance during the 2013 calendar year. It covers buildings over 100,000 square feet and includes 736 buildings, representing over 200 million square feet.

Theoretically, benchmarking energy usage of buildings is supposed to improve energy efficiency because it helps building owners and managers to set goals, track progress, ensure efficient operations, reduce operating costs, and attract like-minded clients to lease space in high-performing and well-maintained buildings.

A spokesperson for the District’s Department of Energy told Energy Manager Today, “The report includes more buildings than last year, as the law phased in more buildings being covered. The new buildings are, on average, slightly less energy efficient, resulting in a drop in overall average score.”

The District’s analysis of the recently released 2013 reported data also indicates that overall site energy use went up by 1.5 percent among buildings that reported 2012 and 2013 data. However, the District says when accounting for weather impacts and fuel differences, the weather-normalized source energy use for the same set of buildings decreased by 3 percent in 2013.

To date, over 70 percent of buildings required to report energy benchmarking data to the District’s DOE have done so.

The next annual reporting deadline is April 1, 2015, and covers all private buildings over 50,000 gross square feet. Buildings that did not report in 2014 may be fined for failing to comply.

Photo: Washington, DC via Shutterstock

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