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Thought Leadership from Sieben Energy Associates

ENERGY STAR Scores for Most Office Buildings Will Fall in 2018

Chicago-River

ENERGY STAR scores for most if not all office buildings will decrease as early as August 2018 due to recalibration. Current scores for office buildings will drop by an average of 8 points. The U.S. EPA broke this news at the ENERGY STAR Commercial Buildings Partner Meeting that was convened in Chicago in October 2017.

So if your building's ENERGY STAR score is currently a 78, it could drop to 70 or below, preventing you from maintaining ENERGY STAR certification, which requires a minimum score of 75.
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Why Pursue Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings?

Earth-at-Night
It is hard to conceptualize the impact that our own energy use has on the world, particularly as it relates to carbon emissions and climate change. Although we understand the importance of reducing energy consumption, it often feels like the energy we use on a regular basis is just a drop in the bucket. But the key is to remember that those many small drops add up quickly. Reducing energy use in our buildings, even by a modest amount, can, in aggregate, have a significant impact.

According to the International Energy Outlook 2016, published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), energy consumed in the buildings sector constitutes about 20% of total global site energy consumed. The "buildings sector" includes residential and commercial users, and encompasses all energy consumed at the building for uses such as heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, refrigeration, computers, and other various equipment and consumer products. Of this 20%, residential users are responsible for about two-thirds, while commercial users are responsible for the remaining one-third. In other words, commercial buildings around the world account for 7% of global site energy consumption.
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Cities with the Most ENERGY STAR Certified Buildings in 2017

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Earlier in June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual ranking of ENERGY STAR Top Cities. According to the EPA, the list "shows which metro areas were home to the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings in the previous year."

The Top Cities for 2017, based on the numbers of 2016 certified buildings, were:
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What Effect Will President Trump's Paris Climate Accord Decision Have on America?

Paris-at-Night

President Trump's decision to exit the Paris Agreement (aka, Paris climate accord) is disappointing to many, but not unexpected. Companies, individuals, and organizations of all kinds have decried the decision as a major step backwards in the face of the very real threat of climate change. And rightly so.

But how much material effect will the president's decision have on a country that has built significant momentum towards curbing greenhouse gas emissions? I don't think the country's retreat from common sense policy will cause anywhere near the amount of harm to our carbon footprint that some people fear. The Paris Agreement demonstrates the cooperation of over 200 countries to safeguard the planet for future generations, but a piece of paper alone does not dictate all activity on the matter.

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First Public Data from Chicago’s Energy Ordinance Show Both Strong and Weak Performers

First Public Data from Chicago’s Energy Ordinance Show Both Strong and Weak Performers

By June 1, owners or managers of essentially all buildings in Chicago larger than 50,000 square feet were required to submit their 2015 energy usage data to the City. This is the third year that some have had to report their data; for others, it is their first year of compliance. Back in September 2013, Chicago joined a handful of other U.S. cities when it became the latest to adopt a building energy benchmarking ordinance. Through the impact of the ordinance, the City of Chicago hopes "to raise awareness of energy performance through information and transparency, with the goal of unlocking energy and cost savings opportunities."

In December 2015, the City of Chicago made public the 2014 energy usage data and ENERGY STAR scores (for those buildings that can receive scores) for commercial and institutional buildings larger than 250,000 square feet. The spreadsheet, presenting data for 243 buildings (predominantly offices, hospitals, K-12 schools, and colleges/universities), can be downloaded from the City's Data Portal.

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