ENERGY STAR has release new guidance about the impact COVID-19 is having on its operations. Currently, the program’s business can continue as usual, but there are some exception for commercial buildings and industrial plants. To stay up to date on what’s changing, check out the ENERGY STAR website.

Impact on applications for ENERGY STAR certification

Normally, to apply for the ENERGY STAR, a licensed professional must conduct a site visit and a verified application must be submitted within 120 of the application’s Period Ending Date. Recognizing that site visits may not be feasible at this time, the program is offering additional flexibility so that your buildings can still receive certification. See below for two options:

1.      Site visits may be completed more than 120 days after the Period Ending Date (PED). The rule that requires you to submit verified applications within 120 days after the PED for any applications with a PED after October 31, 2019 has been suspended. Therefore, you can wait to conduct the site visit and submit the application until it becomes feasible and the building resumes normal operations. Currently there is no new deadline, but the program will continue to monitor the situation and plans to update its guidance accordingly.

2.      You may be able to “re-use” your 2019 site visit for your 2020 application. If a property earned ENERGY STAR certification in 2019, it is possible that the site visit conducted for that certification can be “re-used” for the current application. More information on how this works can be found in this FAQ.

Impact on shipment of ENERGY STAR certification decals and certificates

Beginning March 16, 2020, the certification teams began working remotely without access to mailing facilities. Therefore, the shipment of ENERGY STAR certification letters, certificates, and decals has been put on hold. As soon as it is safe for workers to return to the office, ENERGY STAR will prioritize mailing out your awards packages. In the meantime, you can monitor your application’s status in Portfolio Manager (check the “Recognition” tab). For now, it will say “Approved” until it is able to resume shipments. At that time, it will say “Award Sent.”

Impact on ENERGY STAR scores and certification eligibility

Many buildings are experiencing extended periods of reduced occupancy or even closure, while others (such as multifamily properties and hospitals) may be experiencing the opposite. The team is currently working to assess the future impacts of these new usage patterns on ENERGY STAR scores and certification eligibility and will provide details and guidance for proper benchmarking in the coming weeks.