Why Your Business Should Start Taking ENERGY STAR Certification Seriously

Today’s enterprises aren’t just encouraged to embrace energy efficiency, they’re expected to.

Nielsen’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report shows that 66% of all respondents said they are willing to pay more money for sustainable goods, up from 55% who said the same in 2014 and 50% in 2013. Among millennials and Generation Z (those younger than 20), this figure reached 73% and 72% last year, respectively. These demographics are quickly filling not only the market, but also the workforce. Appealing to their sustainability concerns will be important to remain relevant.

With name recognition among an estimated 85% of Americans, ENERGY STAR has become one of the leading methods for demonstrating your commitment to energy efficiency to your customers, employees, and the general public. Meanwhile, energy disclosure laws have increased 150% year-over-year in the US since 2007. As the ENERGY STAR program’s reporting tools become integral to compliance, more enterprises are looking into new ways to ensure they get the most value out of them.

See also: ENERGY STAR Reporting Made Simple

The growth is undeniable: the number of buildings using ENERGY STAR to measure their energy performance has grown from 35,000 in 2007 to more than 400,000 in 2015. The overall network of ENERGY STAR partners now counts more than 16,000 enterprises. This year, ENERGY STAR recognized 149 companies across many sectors as “Partners of the Year,” including General Motors, Boeing, and Verizon. (We’re also proud to note that Enel X was recognized as a 2016 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year with a Service and Product Provider Award for its work providing energy intelligence software (EIS) and professional services to help enterprises achieve their energy goals—including 44 of the 79 ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year in the Energy Management and Program Delivery categories this year).

This rise in participation underscores the growing value of affiliation with the program. Quite simply, as more organizations start to show ENERGY STAR recognition, your organization can hardly afford to go without it.

Getting Value Out of ENERGY STAR

The vetting process of the program, conducted by the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE), is what makes ENERGY STAR recognition matter in the eyes of the public. But the tools made available through the program can go a long way toward helping enterprises reach their energy efficiency goals.

Portfolio Manager is an online tool that measures and tracks energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions across every building operated by the organization. A tool like energy intelligence software (EIS) collects this data and integrates directly with Portfolio Manager, automating parts of the manual invoice data entry processes and keeping meter data up to date. Streamlining the reporting process can be important in ensuring your organization receives credit for progress earned toward energy efficiency goals—and making sure your ENERGY STAR score isn’t lower than it should be if manual reporting processes leave out certain data.

Once an organization reaches a score of 75 or higher in Portfolio Manager, the EPA and DOE verify its contributions. A professional engineer or registered architect recognized by the program as a Licensed Professional confirms that the organization has reported its full energy usage data accurately, that the scope and size of its buildings were reported properly, and that facilities meet both the EPA’s environment criteria and industry standards—all before bestowing recognition. This independent process validates the score and certification, but also provides a third-party review to identify missteps or errors in their energy management initiatives.

That’s where ENERGY STAR derives its value: it provides a valuable business intelligence metric for businesses to measure progress on their energy goals, benchmark against their peers, and demonstrate their commitment to the environment. Those that earn ENERGY STAR recognition tell the world that they not only value energy efficiency, they have embraced the necessary tools and resources to turn their commitment into action.

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Authored By Colin Neagle

Colin is a marketing manager for Enel X North America and editor-in-chief of the EnergySMART blog.

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