Energy Star High Rise Goes Live and Requires Energy Benchmarking
The Energy Star name is recognized by over 70% of Americans, but for many years developers of mid rise and high rise residential properties were left out of earning the Energy Star for their buildings. Buildings over 6 stories could not participate in Energy Star for Homes and only some 4 and 5 story buildings were eligible. With the recent release of the Energy Star Multifamily High Rise program, that has finally changed for new construction and substantially renovated mid and high rise residential buildings.
Property developers are always interested in gaining marketing advantages and the Energy Star label is a great way to do that. Developers and owners who earn the Energy Star label will end up with buildings that are constructed to be at least 15% more energy efficient than other new construction buildings. They also undergo more inspections that most buildings in order to verify that the required Energy Star measures have been implemented. This provides an extra layer of quality assurance which can help prevent future headaches for the owner. It's not unusual for things to be found by the Energy Star Verifier that were missed by both the building inspector and site super! Ultimately, it leads to a space that is more comfortable and energy efficient for the occupants.
While many of the aspects of the High Rise program are similar to Energy Star for Homes, there is one major difference—the requirement for energy benchmarking. After qualifying for Energy Star, the developer or owner must also commit to benchmarking the building for at least 2 years. Common area usage must be tracked, as well as residential spaces. This data will help property owners and managers ensure that the building is operating as expected and fine tune it. It will also help EPA plan for future versions of the guidelines, as well as quantify the benefits of participating in the voluntary program.
For more information on this new program, visit the Energy Star Multifamily High Rise site.