Profile of ENERGY STAR Certified Buildings

Ricardo Fleury

ENERGY STAR® certification has gained traction since its inception in 1999 when only 500 buildings received the label. In 2012, roughly 8,200 buildings were certified and awarded the ENERGY STAR label. Of those buildings, the most popular category was office buildings, with 47 precent of the certifications, followed by K-12 schools and retail. These categories are a natural fit for ENERGY STAR since each has substantial visibility to the public and demonstrating energy and environmental leadership is very important.

The ENERGY STAR program continues to satisfy its participants, as shown by the high rate of re-certification. Of the buildings certified in 2012, 70 percent had been certified in prior years and in many cases, more than once. California has the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings, accounting for 17 percent of all certifications. There are certified buildings in every U.S. state, as well as in Puerto Rico and Guam.


ENERGY STAR buildings generate on average 35 percent less greenhouse gases and use 35 percent less energy than the average building. With these benchmarks in mind, is your building eligible to become ENERGY STAR certified?

If your building has an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or above, chances are that, yes your building can be certified. ENERGY STAR has progressively expanded the categories of buildings that are qualified for certification, making most building types eligible for recognition.


The aggregate impact of the ENERGY STAR certification program has been extremely positive, making for an impressive record of success. ENERGY STAR estimates that certified buildings have saved $2.7 billion in energy, which is equivalent to the electric use of over 2 million homes! There are more than 300,000 buildings measuring their energy consumption through ENERGY STAR and since the program’s inception, 20,000 buildings have demonstrated their leadership in energy efficiency by attaining ENERGY STAR certification.

The impact at the individual building level is also impressive. There are many reasons that make ENERGY STAR certification the gold standard for energy efficiency performance. First, the public knows the ENERGY STAR brand―over 80 percent of people recognize the ENERGY STAR logo, associating it with energy efficiency. Within a company, ENERGY STAR certification provides a tangible goal to motivate employees to adopt energy efficient behaviors and motivate decision makers to make investments that generate long term energy savings.

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