New Building Design: Why You Should Let Energy Star Guide You
With energy efficiency and environmentally friendly “green” construction becoming more and more popular, designers and builders of residential and commercial projects should take careful note of the Energy Star program. This federal government-sponsored education and conservation organization provides information and other resources on energy efficiency for homeowners, building contractors and professionals in new building design. When taking on a new building design project, take advantage of the resources available through Energy Star.
What Is Energy Star?
Energy Star is a collaborative program between the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It’s intended to educate consumers on how to save energy and reduce their ongoing costs through efficient, responsible and practical energy conservation. The Energy Star program works to improve the connection between energy consumption and the environment by offering ways to reduce greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions. In addition to information, Energy Star certifies appliances, electronics and other equipment and devices as being energy efficient.
Energy Star in New Building Design
The Energy Star program offers several principles for incorporating energy efficiency and cost savings into new building design.
- Plan for energy efficiency from the earliest stages: Include practical accommodations for energy efficiency in the building design specifications. When planning the construction project, keep energy efficiency in mind from the beginning. Ensure the design professionals involved in the project know it’s supposed to earn Energy Star certification and set a realistic target for the structure’s Energy Star score. Hire a building commissioning specialist to assess and commission the building after it’s completed.
- Meet with and maintain open communications with all those affected by the project: This will include architects and designers, construction engineers, construction managers, and commissioning professionals. Ensure the building meets relevant code standards, and correlate codes with Energy Star requirements where possible. If the building is being prepared for a known tenant, include that future tenant in meetings and communications involving the design, construction, commissioning and Energy Star certification of the building.
- Request that your designer, architect or engineer apply for the Designed to Earn the Energy Star designation: This recognition requires a score of 75 or higher on the Energy Star’s scale, so also make sure that the building plan includes features that will attain a score of that high level. Apply an appropriate third-party software tool to estimate energy use for the building, then follow the required steps for verifying and obtaining the Designed to Earn the Energy Star recognition.
- Promote and market your new building as energy efficient and Energy Star-compliant: When your project has met all requirements for Energy Star certification, confidently include this important information in your marketing and promotions to potential tenants. Issue a press release or other news item announcing the completion of the building and its Energy Star status. Include a profile of the structure in the appropriate area on the Energy Star website. Include the Designed to Earn the Energy Star logo on appropriate material, such as building plans, promotional literature, and on-site banners and signs.
- Commission the new building: Authorize your commissioning expert to take the steps necessary to commission the building, which is the process of certifying it for operation and ensuring the building’s systems work as intended.
- Continue efficient operations to earn Energy Star certification: Once your building is commissioned, it must continue to be operated efficiently for at least the next 12 months to earn Energy Star status. If these standards are met, the structure will be granted official Energy Star certification that can be displayed in appropriate locations in the building.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information on the Energy Star program and how it can improve energy efficiency in new building design, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!