EC Express: Setting Up ENERGY STAR
Posted by Matthew Heinz on 06 June 2012 10:42 AM


EnergyCAP is an ENERGY STAR service provider.  EnergyCAP automatically submits your buildings to ENERGY STAR via the EPA's "Automated Benchmarking Service - ABS" once you have entered enough billing and setup data.  Thereafter, your buildings will be submitted daily when data has changed or new bills have been entered.

For each ENERGY STAR "enabled" building, you need at least 12 months of utility bills and certain "building attributes" such as number of occupants and hours of operation.  The required building attributes vary depending on the building type.

To receive a basic "best guess" ENERGY STAR rating, you only need to designate the building type, its floor area, and the ZIP code.  The other building attributes will receive standard EPA default values.  As time permits, collect and enter all building attributes to get an accurate ENERGY STAR rating. 

Setting up ENERGY STAR:

  1. In the Buildings & Meters tree, highlight the desired building.
  2. At the bottom of the Buildings & Meters tree, click the Edit (pencil) icon.  The Building Properties dialog box will open.

  3. Select the ENERGY STAR tab on the left.

  4. Check the box labeled "Enable automatic ENERGY STAR ratings"
  5. Select the Primary ENERGY STAR Building Type that corresponds to your building.  There are 14 building types eligible for ratings.  If your building type is not shown, select "other."  Although a building classified as "other" will not receive a 1-100 rating, it will still receive valuable energy metrics that are shown in the results table (the ENERGY STAR tab of the Buildings & Meters tree).  Many buildings are mixed use; select the primary type, i.e. the type that represents the greatest floor area.
    • The "ZIP code" and "Gross Floor Area" are automatically populated from the General and Floor Area tabs.  If they are not present or need to be modified, please use the "General" and "Floor Area" tabs for this purpose.

  6. Enter or update all of the building attributes that you can.  Official attibute instructions are available from EPA at:
    • Space Type properties can now have effective dates assigned to them.  This allows you to modify a value over time, like the number of occupants, PCs or floor area, and keep a history of the changes in Portfolio Manager.  Doing this also allows historical ENERGY STAR ratings to be made using space properties that were in effect at the time of the requested rating.
    • EnergyCAP highly suggests that you update the dates if you modify property values.
  7. Click "Save".

ENERGY STAR Sub-spaces

An ENERGY STAR rating is calculated against a U.S. Dept. of Energy statistical model known as CBECS.  The CBECS model takes certain building characteristics into account which are considered when deriving the ENERGY STAR rating.  For instance, a General Office building total square footage assumes both the actual office area AND other areas like lobbies, conference rooms, fitness areas, etc.  When you say that the building has 10,000 sq/ft of space, all of these "sub-spaces" would be expected to be part of this number.  Likewise, a hospital will always have spaces used for storage, administrative offices, medical offices, restaurant, etc.  These are assumed to be present and do not constitute sub-spaces. 

However, if your electric meter also powers the lights in your parking lot, that's an additional "sub-space" that needs to be accounted for if you want the most accurate rating.  ENERGY STAR provides a way to account for that.  In EnergyCAP please add an additional "sub-space" to account for this energy use.

  1. Select the building in the Buildings & Meters tree.
  2. Click the edit (pencil) icon at the bottom of the tree.
  3. Select the "ENERGY STAR" tab on the left
  4. Ensure that the "enable" box is checked and a primary place type has been selected.  If not, follow the instructions above for setting up the primary ENERGY STAR space type.
  5. Select a sub-space from the menu and click the "Add Sub-Space" button.

  6. A new space tab will be added.  Fill in as many building attributes as you can to correctly model this sub-space. Parking is the most common sub-space.  24/7 access is indicated as 168 hours/week.  You may have fewer hours of access if the lot is closed and all power is turned off during certain days.  All areas are in square feet.  "Enclosed" means a fully enclosed space (such as an underground structure) that requires 24/7 lighting and ventilation.  "Non-enclosed" means a deck that has open sides, thereby requiring lighting but not mechanical ventilation.  "Open" means a surface lot.

Include/Exclude Meters

On the Include/Exclude tab, check those meters that you want to submit to ENERGY STAR, i.e. all meters that are relevant to the energy usage of the space(s).  For example, a meter that serves exterior signage should be excluded.  If a parking lot has a separate meter, exclude the meter and do NOT create a parking sub-space.

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