Since 2014, medical office buildings have been ineligible to earn ENERGY STAR® certification. This was due to the age of the dataset that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based their 1-100 scale on for medical office buildings. However, EPA rolled out an updated 1-100 ENERGY STAR® score for medical office buildings effective February 7, 2022, as well as the return to eligibility for medical office buildings to earn certification.
The updated ENERGY STAR® score is based on new data collected by the American Society for Health Care Engineering in 2015 and replaces the existing score which is based on a dataset from 1999. The new scores will reflect the most recent data available – both in terms of energy performance, but also in terms of modern equipment and operations. For example, the new score will adjust for MRI machines and surgical operating beds – equipment that was not factored into the prior scoring methodology.
On average, EPA expects a slight increase in ENERGY STAR® scores across all medical office buildings in Portfolio Manager, particularly those with greater quantities of MRI machines and surgical operating beds. However, it is possible that some buildings will see their scores decrease when compared to the newer 2015 data set. With the new score having been unveiled on February 7, 2022, properties that achieve a score of 75 or higher on EPA’s 1 – 100 scale can now qualify for ENERGY STAR® certification, a prestigious mark of a building’s excellent energy performance.
EPA extended a one-time opportunity to retroactively apply for 2021 certification after the updated score was released, although this deadline has since passed. However, if a medical office building applied for 2021 certification between the period February 7 – March 7 using the Period Ending Date (PED) of Oct, Nov, or Dec 2021, then that property will also be able to apply for 2022 certification using any PED after July 2022 thanks to EPA’s flexible rules. If not, then medical office buildings with an ENERGY STAR® score of 75 or higher can pursue certification only for the current year, 2022.
Using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, Cushman & Wakefield’s Energy & Sustainability Services (ESS) team prepares and submits applications for ENERGY STAR® certifications for qualified properties. For those that are not qualified, the team develops strategies to help properties reach a score of at least 75. ESS has completed more than 130 ENERGY STAR® Certifications in 2021, covering over 25 million square feet of real estate. We have been named an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the EPA since 2012, with the added distinction of “Sustained Excellence”.