Yet another City of Austin ECAD compliance season is upon us. Austin Energy is intending to send out a letter early April to all commercial building owners informing them of the ECAD Ordinance and the June 1st deadline. IF you have already contracted Blue Ocean to ensure compliance, please disregard these letters. If you haven’t yet made arrangements for ECAD compliance, Blue Ocean can help you comply. As our agreement states, we guarantee your ECAD compliance!
ENERGY STAR Rating Changes
As you may or may not know, ENERGY STAR Ratings are based on the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), which is only updated periodically. The next update will be implemented in August of this year. As more new buildings are being developed with ENERGY STAR and LEED standards it is not a surprise that the office building stock is becoming more energy efficient. The implication of this is that most buildings will see a decrease in their ENERGY STAR rating of 10-12 points after August of this year.
We recommend completing the ENERGY STAR Certification (if eligible) for 2018 well before this change.
Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions regarding ECAD Compliance and/or ENERGY STAR certification.
- Office: 512-600-7060
- Email: BP@BlueOceanEnergy.net
The US EPA ENERGY STAR® Program has announced that an update to ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Metrics will take place on August 26, 2018. This update will include new 2012 CBECS survey results. These results have a larger sample size to better reflect the building stock which changes over time. As the new sample size is larger and as buildings are becoming more efficient, it is likely that ENERGY STAR scores will go down. Here are a few important tips to prepare for this update:
- It is important to document your “pre-update” scores and details before July 2018
- Qualifying buildings should apply for ENERGY STAR certification by July 26, 2018 …especially if your score is close to 75!
All 2017 ENERGY STAR certified buildings can apply for 2018 certification using a “Year Ending Date” of April 30, 2018 or earlier.
- For buildings with data centers, there will be changes/updates coming which we will continue to follow and update our clients.
- Some property types will have additional space requirements (warehouse, house of worship, K-12 Schools and Supermarkets).
A link to the EPA’s presentation can be found here: August 26 2018 update to PM presentation CBECS.
Both are Class “A” office buildings located at The Domain in Northwest Austin, Texas and have received the ENERGY STAR two years in a row. Blue Ocean Energy was chosen to assist the owner and property managers in obtaining this esteemed award.
This certification represents proven, verified superior energy performance over a 12-month period. ENERGY STAR certified buildings perform in the top 25% of similar buildings nationwide and use on average 35% less energy versus similar buildings.
Bo Petersen, Senior Vice President at Blue Ocean Energy Management, was invited to speak to Cousins Properties Austin today.
This workshop informed the property management team and building engineers of Austin Energy’s rate plans including the November 1st change, along with explanation of Peak Demand and Load Factor.
The presentation ended with discussion of the top ten energy saving recommendations for office buildings including the importance of benchmarking energy and water usage.
As you are probably aware, Austin Energy just approved a new rate plan which becomes effective on November 1, 2017. Although these new rates are not available yet on the Austin Energy website, the rate plan was distributed by Austin Energy’s key account group, as well as BOMA Austin. Unfortunately, these distributions included a number of “typos,” originally indicating fuel cost (PSA) increases of 17%.
The good news is that Austin Energy has now sent out a corrected rate plan. In the image below, we are comparing the current rate plan with the rate plan that becomes effective on November 1st for buildings inside the Austin city limits, that are either on the 300kW plus or the 10kW – 300 kW rate plan.
As you can see, the fuel cost is increasing by almost 8% during the 8 non-summer months. We have calculated the implication for a typical commercial office building, and it would appear that on average the monthly Austin Energy utility cost will increase between 2 and 2.5%.
As there have been at least two previous rate plans distributed by Austin Energy, we want to stress that we cannot guarantee this will be the final version. Should a new rate plan be distributed by Austin Energy, we will update accordingly.
Many of our clients were surprised to hear about the increase in fuel cost (PSA). As we understand it, the fuel cost is intended to reflect Austin Energy’s cost of fueling their power plants. As these prices are influenced by market forces, the argument is that Austin Energy can pass increases (or decreases) to their customer base without the approval of the Austin City Council. In the past, Austin Energy has only changed these rates once or twice per year. Other utilities (CPS Energy in San Antonio, for example), change the fuel component on every invoice.
ENERGY STAR News
Please note that the EPA has extended the deadline for applying for ENERGY STAR® Certification for 2017 until December 15th. Blue Ocean has grown our portfolio of clients we assist with the ENERGY STAR certification process and to date we have certified approximately 30% of all office buildings in the Austin area.
Today is ENERGY STAR Day! Give us a call if you are interested in achieving the ENERGY STAR certification.
Congratulations to Prominent Pointe I, located at 8310 North Capital Hwy, Austin, TX 78731, for achieving the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® certification for 2017!
Prominent Pointe I is leased and managed by Peloton Commercial Real Estate – one of the leading commercial real estate companies in Austin, Texas. Peloton partnered with Blue Ocean Energy Management in obtaining ENERGY STAR Certification this year.
Prominent Pointe I realizes benefits for the property owner and tenants. This certification represents proven, verified superior energy performance over a 12-month period. ENERGY STAR certified buildings perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide!
In recognition of the second annual national Energy Efficiency Day (EE Day) today, Blue Ocean is joining regional and national organizations, businesses, utilities, and individuals working to promote energy efficiency – the cheapest, quickest way to meet our energy needs, cut consumer bills and reduce pollution.
Smarter energy use means we don’t have to generate as much power to meet needs.
Blue Ocean has already helped our top ten clients reduce electricity consumption by 16,173,824 kWh (or 34%) over the past 5 years. This amount of electricity is equal to 402,927 incandescent lamps switched to LED or the electricity usage of 1,678 homes in one year (source www.Epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator).
An energy-efficient economy is free to thrive and innovate. Electricity use was 5 percent lower in 2016 than in 2010, while the U.S. economy grew by almost 13 percent over those years, demonstrating that efficiency and economic growth go hand-in-hand. Reducing the energy used by manufacturers, homes and businesses benefits everyone – especially energy bill-payers.
Energy efficiency is also an economic engine, supporting 2.2 million jobs nationwide in manufacturing, construction and other fields – most of which can’t be outsourced overseas.
Congratulations to UFCU Plaza, located Mopac and Steck, for achieving the EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification for SEVEN consecutive years 2011 – 2017! Only a hand-full of buildings in Austin have realized this achievement for so many years in a row.
UFCU Plaza is leased and managed by Austin-leader in commercial real estate, Aquila Commercial. UFCU and Aquila partner with Blue Ocean Energy Management in obtaining ENERGY STAR Certification each year.
With this certification, UFCU Plaza realizes benefits for the property owner and tenants. This building has lower utility costs compared to similar office buildings and thus lower greenhouse gas emissions, both vital in enhancing asset value. Congratulations to all!
Blue Ocean Energy and BOMA Austin are working together to help improve the commercial ECAD compliance process. Earlier this month a notice went out from Austin Energy to all commercial office properties advising “it’s not too late” to comply with the ECAD June 1 reporting requirement. The problem was, many of the recipients of the notice were already in compliance. Blue Ocean’s Bo Petersen brought the issue to the attention of the BOMA Austin Sustainability Committee who raised the issue with the Austin Energy Major Accounts team.
The result was Austin Energy decided to implement a couple of changes based on the BOMA Austin and Blue Ocean Energy information. Austin Energy immediately provided a copy of the Portfolio Manager data to the Customer Information Group to ensure they could see the Portfolio Manager submissions. Next, they initiated a plan to send a letter to all customers who have complied using Portfolio Manager. This letter is a “thank you” for their Portfolio Manager submission which means Austin Energy will notify them that the submission was received.
To read the post on the BOMA Austin website click here.