Earn the Energy Star and Reduce Costs

According to the US Environmnetal Protection Agency, designing commercial building projects to achieve the ENERGY STAR helps architects and their clients save money, save energy, prevent carbon emissions, and answer EPA’s call to fight global warming.

They provide a guide where architects and building owners will learn how to:

1.Set energy targets for design projects
2.Determine if projects achieve the desired energy goal
3.Close the loop by verifying the actual energy performance of completed buildings

What is the difference between LEED and ENERGY STAR?
ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that focuses on improving energy performance in buildings as a method of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System™ is a green building certification offered by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

ENERGY STAR is a technical assistance and recognition program that offers owners and managers of all buildings access to tools and resources at no cost to help them evaluate their energy performance and reduce energy use and GHG emissions. Organizations are encouraged to begin by benchmarking the performance of their buildings using EPA’s Energy Performance Rating System’s two online energy tracking tools: Target Finder, to set targets for intended energy performance during the design phase, and Portfolio Manager, to measure and rate the energy performance of occupied and operating commercial structures. For certain types of buildings that perform in the top 25 percent compared to their peers nationwide, ENERGY STAR recognition is available as an indicator of superior energy performance. Projects can achieve Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR to recognize architects’ intent that they operate at superior energy efficiency when built, and once the buildings are occupied and operating, they can earn the ENERGY STAR label. These buildings consume on average about 35 percent less energy than typical buildings.

LEED is a building certification process that looks at various aspects of green building and awards recognition to structures that meet certain standards. Users of the LEED process earn credits in several categories associated with green buildings. These differ by the type of LEED certification, but generally include: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation. While each category may have required prerequisites that should be met, users can often choose the categories on which they wish to focus based on their own priorities. Energy efficiency may or may not be one of those priorities.

EPA believes that energy efficiency is the first step to green building, and that all green buildings should be energy efficient. Using ENERGY STAR tools and resources, and earning ENERGY STAR recognition, will ensure that green buildings (whether certified by LEED or another system) are truly energy efficient.

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