Ways to Save: ENERGY STAR Tenant Space

October 18, 2023 | By: CRE Insight Journal

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began development of the ENERGY STAR Tenant Space program in 2018 and it was officially launched in 2020. It was created as a new way to assess and recognize environmentally friendly and energy efficient tenant spaces in office buildings by providing energy-efficiency criteria to help organizations overcome barriers to improving the energy performance of leased spaces.

Eligibility and Requirements

To be eligible for ENERGY STAR Tenant space must be located in a property that can be ENERGY STAR certified, and the tenant space must be either an administrative office, financial office, or non-diagnostic medical office. Some data centers may be eligible. The tenant space registered for the recognition must also represent all the usable square footage for the tenant within the building, and the space must be located in the United States.

ENERGY STAR Tenant Space criteria are built to address efficient lighting and plug loads, which are typically the main tenant-controlled drivers of energy use. Office spaces that achieve ENERGY STAR Tenant Space recognition are verified to have lighting systems that are about 25 percent more efficient than lighting found in typical office spaces.

Tenant Space criteria also requires tenants to separately meter their space and share energy data with their landlords upon request, which is the foundation for benchmarking and understanding both tenant and whole-building energy performance. The application itself is built automatically based on entered data and is a simple process to achieve for landlord and tenants.

Applying for ENERGY STAR Tenant Space

The ENERGY STAR Tenant Space program is coordinated through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Tenants create a portfolio manager account and then create an entry for their office. Then, tenants enter information on the building they reside in, including the year it was built, an estimate of the building’s occupancy, and other information. Next, information on the tenant’s space is entered. This includes total size in square feet, lighting, equipment, submeters, and more.

Collectively, this information is used to calculate metrics including estimated source energy; estimated site energy; target tenant space lighting energy use intensity (LEUI); and estimated tenant space LEUI. Once the calculations are complete, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager then indicates if the tenant space is eligible for ENERGY STAR Tenant Space recognition.

If a space qualifies for recognition, data entered in portfolio manager is automatically populated into an ENERGY STAR Tenant Space application. This application must then be reviewed and confirmed through a site visit by a licensed professional (LP), either a Professional Engineer (PE) or Registered Architect (RA) meeting EPA criteria. To verify applications for ENERGY STAR Tenant space recognition, a licensed professional must:

  • Hold a current license in any U.S. State, Canadian Province, or territory of the U.S. or Canada as a Professional Engineer or Registered Architect and be in good standing. The LP does not need to hold a PE or RA license in the state which the space being verified resides in.
  • Understand all applicable state and territorial engineering and architectural licensure laws, ethical requirements, and regulation prior to performing or offering services in a jurisdiction.
  • Possess a working knowledge of energy usage in office spaces, including lighting fixtures and types, energy metering, and appliances and equipment.

An LP verifying a tenant space application does not need to be from a third-party organization and is allowed to be employed by the applicant. All data entered into an ENERGY STAR Tenant Space application must be verified by the LP prior to submission. Should any data require revision, an applicant can update said information in Portfolio Manager and regenerate their application before submitting it.

Beyond the site visit, submetering, and energy efficiency of a space, the tenant must also adopt and implement an energy efficient equipment procurement policy as described by the EPA here.

ENERGY STAR Tenant Space is the next step in environmental sustainability for commercial real estate, as it directly engages tenants in support of the sustainability efforts of the property at which they reside.

Additional Resources from EPA

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