2022 Medical Office Buildings ENERGY STAR® Update

January 31, 2022 | By: Owen Kavanagh

In January 2014, ENERGY STAR stopped certifying medical office buildings. Medical offices could still have ENERGY STAR scores, but scores over 75 did not receive certification. This was due to a scarcity of useable data on medical offices from the 2002 and 2012 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), which is used to calculate ENERGY STAR scores. Since 2014, ENRGY STAR has worked with the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) to develop a new scoring model for medical office buildings, which will come into effect February 7th, 2022.

ASHE Energy and Water Survey

Between 2016 and 2017, ENERGY STAR and ASHE collected data on medical office buildings. In the following years, ENERGY STAR developed a new scoring model with input from industry experts and began programming and evaluating the new model in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager during the summer of 2021.

The 2015 ASHE Energy and Water Survey data will replace the 1999 CBECS data ENERGY STAR uses to calculate medical office scores. ENERGY STAR used building size, use data, and energy usage to identify 153 relevant medical offices to define the new scoring model. Scores generated with 2015 ASHE do not apply to veterinary offices or standalone ambulatory surgical centers. Medical offices are defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “buildings used to provide diagnosis and treatment for medical, dental, or psychiatric outpatient care.”

Updates and Changes

There are two new criteria for ENERGY STAR scoring in medical offices, MRI machines per 1,000 ft2 and surgical operating beds per 1,000 ft2. MRI machine counts do not include CT, CAT, XRAY or any other imaging equipment. Additionally, Surgical operating beds are defined by the EPA as “beds where outpatient surgical procedures, similar to those which would be conducted in a hospital, are performed. These beds are located in dedicated operating rooms and do not include chairs or tables in exam rooms which might occasionally be used for minor surgical procedures.” The criteria carried over from the previous scoring model are:

  • Gross Floor Area
  • Workers per 1,000 ft2
  • Cooling Degree Days
  • Heating Degree Days
  • Weekly Operating Hours

Gross floor area in medical offices is defined as “all space within the building including offices, exam rooms, operating rooms for outpatient surgical procedures, laboratories, lobbies, atriums, conference rooms and auditoriums, employee break rooms and kitchens, restrooms, elevator shafts, stairways, mechanical rooms, and storage areas.” Information on calculating gross floor area for restaurants, retail pharmacies, and other services can be found under When should I create separate Property Uses? on the ENERGY STAR website.

These changes to medical office score modeling are expected to increase ENERGY STAR scores for medical offices by +4 on average. Properties without MRI machines or surgical operating beds are expected to see an average increase of +2 points. Properties with surgical operating beds are expected to see an average increase of an impressive +17 points, and properties with MRI machines are expected to gain an astounding +24 points on average.

Important Information for 2022

In previous years, entering the total number of surgical operating beds and MRI machines was optional. Under the new model, any blank entries for total MRI machines and total surgical operating tables will default to zero. Make sure your medical office has entered the total number of MRI machines and surgical operating tables. Without this data, your score may be artificially low and inaccurate.

This year, medical offices have a unique opportunity for certifications. From February 7th to March 7th, medical offices that receive a post-update score of 75 or higher may choose to receive either a 2021 or 2022 certification. Certification can be earned for both years by using an end date of October, November, or December 2021, then applying for a 2022 certification using an end date after July 2022. With a 2 to 24-point average gain from these model changes and the possibility of two certifications in a year, 2022 will be an excellent time to apply for medical office ENERGY STAR Certification.


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