Cindy Jacobs, senior advisor with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR program, joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2016 Leader in the Light Working Forum at the Ritz Carlton – Coconut Grove in Miami.
ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program that promotes energy efficiency measures for businesses and individuals.
Jacobs gave an overview of some of the latest developments within the ENERGY STAR program. One of the main developments involves an update to ENERGY STAR scores, according to Jacobs. The EPA is still waiting for data from the Energy Information Administration, Jacobs explained, and once it is received, the EPA will begin its analysis. Jacobs said the EPA expects to roll out the updated scores in 2018.
The EPA is also working on improving access to energy data, Jacobs said. This includes providing tools so that individuals can understand how to obtain data from their utilities and how to find aggregated building data, she noted.
Other ENERGY STAR developments include the introduction of a waste tracking feature this spring, and the roll out of a new Tenant Star program later in the year that recognizes energy efficient tenant spaces.
Meanwhile, Jacobs said one of the biggest trends in commercial real estate has been the focus on tenant spaces and how managers and owners can better engage tenants. Other trends include a greater attention to water efficiency, particularly in areas where water availability is a growing concern.
Jacobs also highlighted the importance of the ENERGY STAR program in the collection, assessment and reporting of energy data.
“In the early days of ENERGY STAR, it was a bit of a wild west with energy data tracking. There is now pretty universal recognition that you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” she said. Jacobs added that the market has seen value in the consistency of energy data and that increased standardization is likely to occur.