In April President Obama signed Senate Bill 535 – the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act – which, among other things, establishes a voluntary Tenant Star program to promote energy efficiency in rental property.
Mahesh Tharoor, VP of Energy and Sustainability with Transwestern Sustainability Services, describes the process for Tenant Star to get off the ground.
First, the Department of Energy (DOE) must begin collecting tenant energy use data as part of its next Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, which is estimated to occur in 2017 or 2018, writes Tharoor.
Often commercial buildings measure energy use at the building level, but for multi-family and many multi-tenant buildings, it will be necessary for building owners to implement sub-meters to measure each tenant’s energy use.
“This means an investment in new technology as well as a learning curve for all parties involved,” writes Tharoor.
It won’t be until 2020 until the EPA is able to develop procedures modeled after ENERGY STAR for the voluntary Tenant Star program. With energy-use data in hand, the DOE will work to establish best practices for energy efficiency. These will likely include some of the usual suspects such as plug loads, lighting upgrades and HVAC retrofits, as well as such things as behavioral changes, humidity levels and new technologies.
Photo of office buildings via Shutterstock.