ENERGY STAR Is Updating Its Energy Usage Scores—Here’s What It Means for Hotels

Energy

On August 27, more than 5,300 hotels comprising 70 percent of all floorspace in the market will see a change in their 1-100 ENERGY STAR score, a key metric used to measure and track a property’s energy use. The score compares a hotel’s energy performance with that of other lodging properties nationwide. The score is based on the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), which is conducted about once every four years by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). The metrics prior to August 27 are based on 2003 survey data, while the new scores will be based on 2012 survey data, which became available in 2016.

Leslie Cook, national program manager for the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program for Commercial Buildings and Industrial Plants, explains to LODGING that hoteliers can expect their ENERGY STAR scores to increase after the new metrics are in place. “The most recent market data available shows a modest decline in the energy performance of U.S. hotels in recent years,” Cook explains. “So when Portfolio Manager metrics are updated on August 27, ENERGY STAR scores and other performance metrics for hotels will, on average, go up.”

While the exact score changes will vary by building, Cook says that the EPA expects hotels to see a 1-point increase in their 1-100 ENERGY STAR scores. “But this is an average, and an estimate: Each hotel’s ENERGY STAR score may increase or decrease, depending on its energy use, fuel mix, business activity, property type, and other variables,” Cook says.

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The August 2018 metric updates will also change the source energy factor. The EPA’s metrics are based on source energy—the total primary fuel needed to deliver heat and electricity to a property. “Source energy accounts for losses that occur in the distribution, storage, transmission, and dispensing of the fuel,” Cook explains. “For example, for every one unit of electricity a hotel uses on-site, a power plant must generate three units, since two units are lost during transmission.” Because of this reality, ENERGY STAR is updated its source electric factor to be slightly lower, based on the new national average. “Each hotel will be impacted differently, depending on its particular fuel-mix, though we expect these changes to be quite small in magnitude.”

To prepare for the coming changes, Cook recommends that hoteliers download and save current performance reports because all current and historical metrics will be updated on August 27. “If you think you’ll need to document changes, we suggest two reports at a minimum: ‘Performance Highlight’ report (for a portfolio-level, multi-year summary) and ‘Statement of Energy Performance’ (for a building-level, 12-month performance period).” Instructions to generate these reports are available on the ENERGY STAR website along with additional information on the score updates.