U.S. office occupiers that strive to conserve energy by incorporating sustainable materials and practices in their physical spaces now have the opportunity to receive recognition for their efforts through the Tenant Star program. The new federal initiative is modeled after the popular ENERGY STAR program and will recognize tenants that adopt energy efficient practices and achieve notable results in their leased spaces.
Signed into law by President Obama in April 2015, the new legislation authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to jointly create a voluntary Tenant Star program that will provide national branding recognition to landlord and tenant teams who design, construct, and operate highly energy efficient leased spaces in commercial buildings. It will be the first government-endorsed label in the U.S. to recognize leased spaces within commercial buildings for sustainable design and operation.
Mahesh Tharoor, vice president, energy and sustainability, at Transwestern outlines how businesses can leverage this ground-breaking program in a recent edition of the company’s “Ask the Expert” feature.
Implementing energy-efficient improvements will save businesses on overall operating costs. Additionally, participants can expect a higher level of employee productivity if factors such as humidity level, access to natural light and the presence of plants are addressed.
Building occupants that participate in the Tenant Star program will be able to compare their energy-efficiency level to that of other businesses across the country. Earning a high rating will allow companies to be nationally recognized as market leaders.
Buildings will need to be sub-metered in order to measure the energy use in specific tenant spaces. Once new technologies are implemented, tenants will be able to measure and quantify not only their energy use, but also water, gas, waste and carbon emissions.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 80 percent of workers are attracted to an employer with a positive environmental reputation. A favorable Tenant Star rating could lead to higher employee recruitment and retention for participating tenants.
Transwestern’s Tharoor notes that the Department of Energy will begin collecting energy use data in its next Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, which is estimated to occur in 2017 or 2018. The results will be released publicly as early as 2019, and the EPA will develop policies and procedures for the voluntary program as early as 2020. This gives both owners and occupiers time to research the program and begin preparing for its implementation.