The Energy Star certification for worship facilities equates to a 25%-30% energy cost savings. To determine the performance of a facility, the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compares energy use among other, similar types of facilities on a scale of 1-100, and buildings that achieve a score of 75 or higher may be eligible for the Energy Star. The Energy Star score accounts for differences in operating conditions, regional weather data, and other important considerations through use of the Portfolio Manager measurement and tracking tool at www.energystar.gov/benchmark. The congregations that have already achieved this distinction are featured online here.
The one potential cost of earning the Energy Star (besides the facility or equipment upgrades to save money) may occur if a congregation lacks a licensed professional in the congregation or community who will provide free Portfolio Manager data verification. Professional data verification, which could cost up to $1,000 or $1,200 depending on square footage, is required by Energy Star, but any licensed professional can provide this assistance if they are willing. About 80% of all congregations have fewer than 100 members, so it’s easy to understand that many rural or inner-city congregations lack a licensed professional to help verify their data.
Energy Star solved this problem for K-12 schools by asking licensed professionals to volunteer to provide data verifications, on any basis they like, for local schools. In May 2011, Energy Star is launching a national recruitment of volunteer licensed professionals to provide at least one Portfolio Manager data verification for a worship facility of their choice over the next year. The K-12 volunteer directory at http://www.energystar.gov is undergoing revision to include volunteers to help worship facilities.
Licensed professionals helping at least three worship facilities verify Portfolio Manager data within the year will be featured at www.energystar.gov/congregations and at a special reception at Worship Facilities Conference & Expo (WFX) in November 2011 in Dallas. Additionally, licensed professionals who benchmark 10 facilities annually with Portfolio Manager or have one client earn the Energy Star label will be listed as “most active” in the Energy Star Service and Product Provider directory linked from www.energystar.gov/sppresources. Also linked is pre-recorded training especially for licensed professionals. Links from www.energystar.gov/newbuildingdesign provide training to earn an AIA Learning Unit (LU) or Continuing Education Unit (CEU).
For more information on this opportunity or to volunteer to verify church data to earn the Energy Star, email EPAcongregations@energyandsecurity.com.