Property attributes have big effect on ENERGY STAR scores

The ENERGY STAR scores using the capacity seating and open hours attributes for Wooden Cross averaged in the mid-50s.

A recent test confirmed why it is important to be as accurate as possible in filling in the categories for the property attributes in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manger.

Adjusting the seating capacity and hours to “usual use,” the ENERGY STAR scores averaged in the mid-40s.

Marc Schuldt is the energy steward for Wooden Cross Lutheran Church in the state of Washington. The congregation recently joined one of our project partner programs (Lutherans Restoring Creation).

Said Marc:

“Two hundred is our maximum capacity for a Christmas eve service where we have to bring in extra chairs in the aisles to have enough seats. There are a set number of seats in the sanctuary, which I have not counted but could count if that would help. Attendance for a typical Sunday service is about 70 persons.
“The problem with operating hours is that all spaces in the church are not active except for about 4 hours on Sunday morning. Other times, including typical weekdays, only a small portion of the facility is active at any given time. If ENERGY STAR assumes that the whole facility is active during the operating hours, then a large error could be introduced.”

 

We wondered: What effect would it have on the ENERGY STAR score to place these two property attributes at typical rather than capacity?

So we ran a test — adjusting the seating from 200 to 70 and hours from 46 to 30 in Portfolio Manager. It turned out that the ENERGY STAR scores are quite sensitive to the property attributes. Under the new settings, the score dropped from 56 to 44.

It makes sense: Wooden Cross was using the same amount of energy to operate a “smaller church” in the same 10,213-square-foot building, therefore less efficient.

ENERGY STAR  asks for the  “seating capacity,” not typical attendance. And it is looking for the number of “weekly operating hours” when it is “typically open.”

We reset the two factors to the seating capacity and the open hours. And now Marc and others at the church have a better understanding of what they need to do to improve energy use in the year ahead.

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