Is Tenant Star the Right Tool to Drive Commercial Building Energy Savings?

From Enery Star to Tenant Star: The next frontier in building effiency

GreenBiz, July 10, 2015. Image credit: PixelAnarchy

It’s not hard to see the allure of Tenant Star. Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager is already successfully helping more than 400,000 commercial buildings measure, track, assess and report their energy and water use. And last year Energy Star expanded its reach to multifamily housing with the help of Fannie Mae.

The program’s savings potential is staggering when considering only the roughly 6 billion square feet of existing leased office space in the U.S., and estimating about $1.10 per square foot for lights and plug and process loads, just 15 percent savings in tenant spaces would be worth almost a billion dollars in avoided energy costs — and that’s not counting potential savings for retail, education and other types of tenants.

Despite the large potential, there is still a long road ahead to reach a world full of Tenant Star-certified spaces.

The agencies have about six months to lay out a plan to capture enough data to build a baseline for Tenant Star, and they’ll run into a considerable roadblock: the vast majority of leased office spaces are not sub- or separately metered, meaning there isn’t an obvious way to obtain detailed energy usage information.

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