Sustainability and efficiency are a major driver in commercial real estate. Tenants look towards greener buildings and ask owners how they are impacting the environment. Owners look towards managers and operators on how to more efficiently use energy and water to save money. Sustainability and efficiency are driving forces in CRE, and numerous resources exist to help industry insiders save.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and ENERGY STAR® have released resources showing how buildings can save resources, time, and money. These resources are all free and available online. There are myriad ways to save, here are a few resources to help.
Environmental Protection Agency
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government. The EPA began its work on Dec. 2nd, 1970 under President Nixon.
The EPA employs scientists, engineers, legal experts, public affairs specialists, environmental protection experts, and more. Through the efforts and research of these professionals, the EPA regularly releases resources to assist in sustainability and environmental protection. Here are a few of these resources:
- EPA Environmental Topics, this page provides a hub for the most popular EPA pages on Air, Climate Change, Health, Location-Specific Information, and more.
- EPA Research, EPA Research is a hub of research released by the EPA’s Office of Research and Development.
- EPA Regulatory and Guidance Information, the EPA releases and enforces regulations on numerous environmental topics, this page links to further information on the laws, guidelines, and topic areas the EPA regulates.
- EPA Organization Chart, need to speak with a member of the EPA? This resource provides the regional office for your area as well as their phone number.
- EPA’s eGRID – How clean is your electricity? Profiles by Regions, this resource details how your local energy grid produces energy.
- GHG Emission Factors Hub, the GHG Emission Factors Hub provides an easy-to-use set of default emission factors for reporting organization greenhouse gas emissions.
- Information for Owners and Managers of Buildings that Contain Asbestos, this page provides guidance on the federal requirements surrounding asbestos, including renovations, demolitions, and operations and maintenance for asbestos-containing materials in buildings.
- EPA A – Z Topic Index, this page lists subject topics on the EPA website alphabetically, it includes topics such as Air Quality Analysis, Environmental Economics, Water Reuse and Recycling, and much more.
Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is a federal cabinet-level department which manages the United States’ energy conservation, energy-related research, domestic energy production, nuclear weapons program, nuclear reactor production, and radioactive waste disposal. The DOE was formed through The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 on Aug. 4, 1977, under President Carter.
The original goal of the DOE was to promote energy conservation and the development of alternative energy sources, and the DOE releases resources in a number of energy related fields. Below you will find a few of their resources:
- Energy Sources | Department of Energy, this resource hub can help explain different forms of energy as well as the way that energy is stored and distributed.
- Better Buildings Solution Center, the Better Buildings Initiative (BBI) Solution Center is an excellent showcase focusing on proven solutions for energy and water efficiency in buildings.
- 2023 BBI Progress Report, the BBI releases progress reports each year focusing on market leadership, innovation and emerging technologies, workforce development, and better information. Over 900 Better Buildings partners have saved.
- Building Technologies Office, the DOE Building Technologies Office (BTO) works to encourage the use of cost-effective technologies, techniques, tools, and services. This page gives access to their resources and upcoming events.
- DOE L-Prize Competition, the DOE L-Prize Competition was originally held in 2011 and resulted in the creation of new LED bulbs and their proliferation. The 2021 L-Prize Competition is currently in the prototype phase and is focused on innovating Solid-State Lighting (SSL) solutions. Winners of the prototype phase will be released October 31.
- DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge (ESGC), the DOE ESGC is a program built to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of novel energy storage technologies. This challenge has led to the creation and release of numerous reports and data including the July 2023 Update on Battery Storage Trends in the U.S.
ENERGY STAR® is a program to certify energy efficiency backed by the United States Government. This incredibly important and effective program came about in 1992 when it was established under President Clinton. The EPA manages the ENERGY STAR® program, while the DOE manages Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® and provides technical support. ENERGY STAR® regularly publishes resources, webinars, and research. A selection of these resources can be found below:
- ENERGY STAR NextGen is an upcoming update and expansion of the ENERGY STAR program to incorporate decarbonization efforts in the U.S. You can learn more about this upcoming program here.
- Commercial Buildings Tools and Resources, Resources by Audience, Resources by Topic, these pages collate all the tools, webinars, case studies, and many other resources published by ENERGY STAR®.
- Trainings: Live Webinars, Recordings, and PowerPoint Presentations by Topic, how do you use the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager? What are the most efficient manufacturers doing? These topics and more are covered in the many presentations and documents provided on this page.
- DataTrends Research, DataTrends are free reports made by the EPA using data from ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager. These reports cover topics such as energy savings, water use tracking, energy use benchmarking, and more.
- Energy Information Administration – Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), while not directly released by ENERGY STAR®, the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) CBECS data is the basis for ENERGY STAR® Scores and building certifications. The 2018 CBECS report is available now.
- Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Tracking in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, this resource describes how to track and report greenhouse gases in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager.
- How to Benchmark Onsite Renewable in Portfolio Manager, this guide details how to accurately measure and track onsite renewable electricity in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager
- Tenant Space Recognition, this page details the new ENERGY STAR® Tenant Space program for sustainability efforts in leased office space
- Sign up for the ENERGY STAR® Mailing List, want to stay up to date on everything ENERGY STAR® is doing? Signing up for their mailing list is the best way to stay in the know.
For further resources, please check this State-by-State Resource Locator. This resource locator is maintained by the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences and is funded by the EPA. These resources cover a wide range of topics, from asbestos and other hazardous waste to green buildings and lead paint abatements. These resources provided by the EPA, DOE, and ENERGY STAR® are a great way to learn more about United States energy programs, as well as the many ways you can save.
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