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Thread: Building EQ vs. Energy Star - What's the difference? - elevator speech needed

  1. #1
    ASHRAExCHANGE℠ Ad Hoc Committee Chair / Electronic Communications Chair Spencer Morasch's Avatar
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    Post Building EQ vs. Energy Star - What's the difference? - elevator speech needed

    I get this question asked whenever I talk to anyone about ASHRAE's Building EQ program -
    What's the difference between that program and the Energy Star Program?

    Need the response in the form of an elevator speech, as that is normaly all the time (attention span)
    that I get.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    bEQ gives owner/operator detailed information for a road ahead to further energy savings.

  3. #3
    Great Question! I've been asked that too and haven't found the right way to give a concise answer. . . So, T.David, your response is "bEQ provides detailed lifetime energy savings information where energy star is just time of purchase energy savings qualities" - am I interpretting that correctly?

  4. #4
    Rather than speculate as to what the "elevator speech" should be, my suggestion would be to engage any one or all of the "team of leading of building design and systems engineers" who created the bEQ program to provide an appropriate respoonse. If one analyzes both programs carefully, you will discover that both use EUI (energy use intensity) as a basis for their calculations. Plus both use "source energy" in the assessment evaluation. Finally, both compare the subject building against buildings of similar size and type based on statistcal data obtained by CBECS (Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey), which samples over 6,000 buildings across the U.S., collecting billing data and operational details for a wide variety of commercial building types. And while there may be some subtle differences, the fundamental goal is the same --- to reduce energy use and thus carbon footprint. To suggest that one program is "better-than-the-other" would be difficult to say. In fact, the bEQ program refers heavily to the Portfolio Manager in the Energy Star program. As before, let's ask the "experts" who developed the bEQ program.

  5. #5
    Hello, I am the ASHRAE staff liaison to the bEQ Committee. Let me try to answer your questions. The bEQ Committee considers bEQ to be a complementary program to EPA's ENERGY STAR program. More specifically, bEQ could be considered the next step beyond ENERGY STAR. While both ratings are based on the buildings EUI, there are a wider range of buildings that can apply for a bEQ rating than for an ENERGY STAR rating. ENERGY STAR is a pass/fail rating -- either you get it or you don't. The pass level (75) would roughly equate to a B-efficient bEQ rating. The bEQ scale provides for greater differentiation of high performance buildings and an increased emphasis on zero net energy. The Level 1 Energy Audit compares the building's tariffs/rates and details suggested energy savings suggestions. The IEQ screening provides the building with the results from the spot measurements taken to screen the building. The workbook also includes and energy end use breakdown. The bEQ In Operation rating uses a Building Energy Assessment professional so the building knows that the assessment is being conducted by someone who is knowledgeable in the area of energy audits and assessments. With the introduction of the As Designed rating, a building owner can now compare their building's actual energy performance with the building's design potential. This provides an additional layer of information for owners, tenants, and developers. Please let me know if this answers your questions.

  6. #6
    ASHRAExCHANGE℠ Ad Hoc Committee Chair / Electronic Communications Chair Spencer Morasch's Avatar
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    LK Pratt - Thank you for your above concise response regarding how the ASHRAE bEQ and EPA's ENERGY STAR programs relate to each other. Your response is a keeper! Spencer Morasch - Jersey Central Power & Light

  7. #7
    Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) are launching the Energy Star Portfolio Manager for Canadian buildings soon.

    Here is a portion of the OEE info bulleting:
    "Once ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is launched in Canada, Canadian buildings will be compared to their Canadian peers and no longer to U.S. buildings. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) recommends that organizations that are pursuing any building environmental certification programs contact the appropriate program officials to confirm how these firms will address the potential score changes.

    In addition, once the tool is launched in Canada:
    • Canadian buildings registered in the tool will be assessed using Canadian metrics and data.
    • Canadian buildings will no longer receive a U.S. 1-100 ENERGY STAR performance score.
    • Canadian energy use intensity (EUI) scores will be available for all building types not eligible for a Canadian 1-100 score.
    • In the absence of a 1-100 performance score for building types other than office buildings and K-12 schools, organizations receiving an EUI score will be able to use Target Finder to set energy performance targets against the median EUI in their sector."

  8. #8
    Occasional User Bill Bahnfleth's Avatar
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    I've been doing a bEQ distinguished lecturer presentation for about three years. This is the single most common question that comes up in discussions of bEQ, followed closely by "what does it cost." Lilas, in particular, has provided most of the points of comparison that are important. I can add a few more items and some details.

    1) ENERGY STAR is currently an existing building rating based on measured energy use while bEQ has both modeling based (asset/as-designed) and measurement based (in-operation) ratings that are consistent with one another. DOE is working on an asset rating that is intended to be complementary to ENERGY STAR.

    2) The ENERGY STAR rating scale is statistical, i.e., it is based on the percentage of buildings that have higher EUI, while the bEQ scale is a technical performance scale based on the percentage difference relative to an appropriate median EUI. As Lilas noted, most buildings that just qualify for an ENERGY STAR rating (75) will get a B rating under bEQ, but some rate worse and some better because the distribution of EUI varies from one building type to another.

    Superficially, there are many similarities, but the value added by the detailed bEQ rating process performed by certified professionals is significant. It comes with an increased cost as well - $500 to register the rating and about 40 hours of professional time to conduct an in-operation rating + the cost to the rater of becoming registered.

    Comparing as-designed to in-operation EUIs will always be fraught with difficulty, but I believe that a single, open organization working from both ends has the best opportunity to establish that equivalency.

    Ultimately, the purpose of rating is not recognition so much as improvement. If labeling does not lead to improved building performance, it is a waste of time. I am convinced that the approach ASHRAE has taken with bEQ is leading us in that direction more effectively than any other program I'm aware of (but I admit to a little bias...).

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by LK Pratt View Post
    Hello, I am the ASHRAE staff liaison to the bEQ Committee. Let me try to answer your questions. The bEQ Committee considers bEQ to be a complementary program to EPA's ENERGY STAR program. More specifically, bEQ could be considered the next step beyond ENERGY STAR. While both ratings are based on the buildings EUI, there are a wider range of buildings that can apply for a bEQ rating than for an ENERGY STAR rating....
    I like to highlight that particular point for two building types that I work in frequently: Additional building usage types can be labeled with bEQ, such as higher education and laboratories.

    Depending if the elevator that the original poster is in was located in an office building compared to a higher education or laboratory building, the additional scope regarding building types might be a point to start out with.

    Labs21 does provide some energy usage benchmarking assistance for laboratories. The end result of that tool isn't a label or certificate, which bEQ does provide.

  10. #10
    I like David's short and concise answer but I think it is too short for an elevator speech. You will be in silence the rest of the elevator ride with me being very confused!

    Bill's response whereas is too long for an elevator ride. We need more time to absorb your explanation.

    Ryan: For NRCan, can you tell me where to find the EUI for typical buildings in Canada?

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