How COVID-19 is Affecting 2020 ENERGY STAR Certifications

By Kristie Teoh, EIT, CSR-P, CEM
Lead Technology Engineer, Chateau Energy Solutions

Many people have adjusted to a new normal of working from home, so have our buildings! Most buildings have experienced reduced occupancy or complete closure.  As a result, the EPA has published new ENERGY STAR certification guidelines based on the changes caused by the pandemic. In general, most 2020 ENERGY STAR certification applications have been put on hold until further requirements and assessment of new usage patterns and score impacts have been decided. Below is more specific information on how to proceed with a building’s 2020 ENERGY STAR certification.

Let’s start with buildings unaffected by the pandemic, meaning there were no changes in occupancy or operations. These buildings can still be certified for 2020 and must be visited during the 12-month application period or within 120 days of the period ending date. For example, if your building’s 2019 certification is through March 2019, it can earliest be re-certified in 2020 through February 2020 (unaffected by the pandemic). If a site visit was also completed between February 2019 and February 2020 (during the 12- month application period) or by the end of May 2020 (within 120 days after the period ending date), an application may be submitted for 2020 ENERGY STAR certification. If your building does not meet these date requirements, you should wait to apply for certification.

For buildings affected by COVID19 and experiencing reduced occupancy or complete closure, certification applications will also be put on hold.

However, this does not mean affected buildings will never get their 2020 certifications! It is more important now than ever to make a record of operation and occupancy changes – this includes dates of impact, transition periods, operating hours, occupancy distribution of the building, and occupancy of people. Most time-sensitive deadlines have been extended, but the EPA will work with properties to assess their situations.

As more information is released, 2020 ENERGY STAR certifications will proceed. For now, Chateau Energy Solutions can assist with these new guidelines as it is important to use experts in the field who can properly interpret these new rules. Whether a building needs benchmarking, or a little or a lot of help, we can improve efficiency to raise the score to 75 or above to gain ENERGY STAR certification.

About the Author:

As the Technology Lead Engineer for Chateau Energy Solutions’ Managed Services, Kristie Teoh ensures clients maintain supply and demand energy optimization and increase efficiency over time. She provides a comprehensive approach to systems management by implementing smart data analytics and insights into our clients’ operations to uncover hidden cost savings and improve energy efficiency and sustainability.  Kristie has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is currently an Engineer in Training (EIT). She is also a Certified Sustainability Practitioner (CSR-P) and a Certified Energy Manager (CEM). She can be reached at LinkedIn.

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