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ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Building Emissions Calculator

Jack Pufunt • 9/28/2022
In April 2022, the EPA unveiled their new ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Emissions Calculator, a powerful tool that can estimate a building’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, support GHG emissions inventories, evaluate emissions under local building performance standards, and forecast the impact of changes in building efficiency and energy procurement.

Since the commercial office and industrial sectors are responsible for half of the energy use in the United States and nearly half of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, pairing the Building Emissions Calculator with ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager can provide valuable insight to capture potential energy savings1

Using a property’s historical energy consumption data, the Building Emissions Calculator can estimate historical, current, and future annual GHG emissions.  The tool can also calculate baseline annual emissions, track changes over time, and evaluate the impacts of anticipated changes in energy use, fuel mix, green power, and emissions factors.  If the property is already benchmarking its energy use in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, users can seamlessly pull their data into the Building Emissions Calculator.  Otherwise, monthly data can be entered manually to calculate emissions metrics.

The Building Emissions Calculator presents data in either a bar chart or in a table, allowing for visualization and further analysis.  The tool covers both direct, on-site emissions from use of fossil fuels as well as indirect, off-site emissions from purchased electricity and district energy.  The data can also be toggled between the asset and portfolio level, allowing for both detailed and high-level analysis.

The Building Emissions Calculator has several use cases for both property teams and local governments.  For one, buildings can quickly develop historic and current inventories of their carbon emissions.  Setting this baseline is the necessary first step for tracking progress on reducing GHG emissions.  

More noteworthy, however, is the tool’s forecasting capabilities. The calculator allows users to pick target years and enter assumptions on buildings’ characteristics, such as the buildings’ anticipated level of electrification, improvements in energy efficiency, use of onsite and offsite renewable energy, and even custom emissions factors.  By adjusting these variables and seeing the impact on emissions for a target year, buildings can observe the impact of different decarbonization steps and learn how much of a reduction that it will earn in emissions.  This can help establish a pathway towards a building energy performance standard that sets carbon intensity limits by building type, like New York City’s Local Law 972.  

The ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Emissions Calculator will assist in meeting our clients’ corporate and locality-specific emissions factors necessary for reporting building GHG emissions jurisdictions with disclosure and buildings performance standards. Cushman & Wakefield’s Energy and Sustainability team will work with each property type to ensure energy efficiency and optimized performance with the guidance of this tool. 

Prepare your real estate portfolio for the challenges ahead by partnering with Cushman & Wakefield’s Energy & Sustainability team.
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