Energy Star Certification & Green Leasing Grant Overview

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NATURAL GAS INCENTIVES ARE NOW AVAILABLE TO APPLY FOR AS PART OF THE ESGL GRANT APPLICATION

EFFECTIVE AS OF APRIL 27, 2020

Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the restrictions put in place by the County Government, OCS Sustainable Energy will NOT be performing any site visits until further notice. However, we are still accepting and prequalifying applications. Please see below for more details.

BACKGROUND

ENERGY STAR certified buildings save energy, save money, and help protect the environment by generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions than comparable buildings. Further, a building’s energy usage and efficiency are increasingly becoming factors to attract new, and to retain existing, tenants. ENERGY STAR certification can help to increase a building’s value, and generate more income when compared to similar buildings.

GOALS

The ENERGY STAR Certification and Green Leasing (ESGL) grant award seeks to increase the number of ENERGY STAR certified buildings, and encourage the adoption of green-leasing practices within Prince George’s County. This effort will help support the County’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and attract and retain high-valued tenants in the county.

OBJECTIVES

Grant award funds are available to assist commercial buildings (office and multifamily housing) with ENERGY STAR certification. Funds can be used to offset the costs of electric energy-efficiency, water-efficiency, natural gas and retrofitting measures, and for professional services required to achieve ENERGY STAR Certification.

Buildings receiving funding from the ENERGY STAR Certification and Green Leasing grant award are required to maintain certification for at least three (3) years, and to adopt green leasing practices that align the interests of property owners and tenants so that they are both motivated to engage in energy efficient actions for buildings.

TARGET AUDIENCES

The grant award targets office buildings and multifamily housing that are built at the time of application, in Prince George’s County, and in the Pepco and/ or Washington Gas service territory. Definitions for eligible office buildings and multifamily housing will follow the subset of building types as defined and listed on ENERGY STAR’s list of Property types eligible to receive the 1-100 ENERGY STAR score. 

ELIGIBILITY

Office buildings and multifamily housing (commercial buildings) located in Prince George’s County are welcome to apply. The commercial properties should meet the following criteria:

  • Properties must be in the Pepco and/ or Washington Gas service territory;
  • Must be in Prince George’s County;
  • Have applied to Pepco’s and/ or Washington Gas’ applicable commercial energy efficiency programs, if required;
  • Has or will perform, at minimum, an American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Level 2 Commercial audit or demonstrably equivalent if required;
  • Has or will apply for Energy Star Certification.

The owner of the property must:

Have a status of “Good Standing” for the current year, as evidenced by a certificate of status from Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation.  

Commercial Office Buildings Criteria

Area at least 10,000 square feet

Be in operation, at least 30 hours per week: having at least 1 worker during the main shift

Greater than 50% occupancy

Multifamily Housing Properties Criteria

2 units or more per building

20 units or more per property/campus

Greater than 75% occupancy


NOTE: Communities of single-family homes are not eligible. If the housing property is a mix of multifamily and single-family homes, the property would still be eligible as long as the single-family homes are less than 25% of the total gross floor area. 

Until further notice, due to the COVID-19 restrictions put in place by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI), OCS Sustainable Energy will not prequalify any applications without an audit, if an audit is required. Audits must be performed prior to March 30, 2020 to be prequalified. For more information regarding COVID-19 restriction, please visit PHI’s website.

AVAILABLE INCENTIVES

Maximum award available per application: $150,000

The following incentives are available to qualified applicants:

  • Of the $150,000, if required, up to $50,000 will cover the ASHRAE Level 2 Audit and shall not exceed this amount.

Grant awards to cover up to $100,000 for Electric and or Natural Gas measures.

Grant awards to cover up to $150,000 for Electric and or Natural Gas measures, if ASHRAE Level 2 Audit is not required.

Grant awards to offset 100% of the cost of the Licensed Professional’s sign off to verify and stamp the ENERGY STAR certification application.

AFFORDABLE OR INCOME-BASED MULTIFAMILY HOUSING

Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community (MD DHCD) administers the income-based incentives for applicants interested in EmPOWER Maryland energy efficiency incentives.

MD DHCD Multifamily Energy Efficiency Improvement Programs - The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s multifamily energy funds are restricted to affordable multifamily rental properties. “Affordable” means rental housing with existing income or rent restrictions, or housing with units that serve tenants with low to moderate incomes, as determined by the department. Multifamily rental housing may include apartment buildings, townhouses, single-family homes, single room occupancy and shared housing facilities with five (5) or more units. Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations and governmental entities.

NOTE: In order to qualify for the ENERGY STAR Certification and Green Leasing grant award, multifamily properties must have 20 or more units.

ENERGY STAR’s PORTFOLIO MANAGER

EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool helps users measure and track the energy and water use, waste and materials, and greenhouse gas emissions of their buildings, all in a secure online environment. Results can be used to identify under-performing buildings, set investment priorities, verify efficiency improvements, and receive EPA recognition for superior energy performance.

By entering details about the property and consumption data into Portfolio Manager, one can:

  • Assess whole building energy performance.
  • Track changes in energy, water, waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and cost over time.
  • Track green power purchases.
  • Create custom reports.
  • Share data with others.

The steps to share read access to your building’s data with the program staff are available here.  The Sustainable Energy Program staff is available to assist with the process.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Assistance

The EPA offers a variety of resources to help users navigate the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool. The ENERGY STAR Help Desk offers an extensive list of searchable FAQs as well as different avenues to contact EPA staff with questions. EPA also offers Portfolio Manager Trainings that include full-length or short training videos, either in pre-recorded or live viewing formats.

WHAT IS BENCHMARKING?

Benchmarking is the practice of comparing the measured performance of a device, process, facility, or organization to itself, its peers, or established norms, with the goal of informing and motivating performance improvement. When applied to building energy use, benchmarking serves as a mechanism to measure energy performance of a single building over time, relative to other similar buildings, or to modeled simulations of a reference building built to a specific standard (such as an energy code).

Benchmarking is useful for property owners and facility operators, managers, and designers. It facilitates energy accounting, comparing a facility’s energy use to similar facilities to assess opportunities for improvement, and quantifying/verifying energy savings.

Commercial building energy performance benchmarking is a foundational element of an organization’s energy management strategy because you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Across many commercial building markets, the practice has become standard operating procedure as energy costs and associated environmental and sustainability issues have raised awareness around the importance of energy management. To assist with the connection between benchmarking and energy management, the following topics reference appropriate portions of energy management resource guides.

For more information on the ENERGY STAR benchmarking process and how to collect data from the utility company, please visit: https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/facility-owners-and-managers/existing-buildings/use-portfolio-manager/get-started-benchmarking.

For more information on Commercial Building Energy Benchmarking Data, please visit: https://www.energy.gov/eere/analysis/commercial-building-energy-benchmarking-data.

For more information on the Washington Gas benchmarking process and how to collect data from the utility company, please visit: https://www.washingtongas.com/business-owners/services/energy-benchmarking.

For applications with a benchmarked score at 75 or above that are not required to apply for an EmPOWER Maryland Incentive Program, an invoice to apply for ENERGY STAR Certification can be processed.

WHAT IS “GREEN LEASING?”

Green leases (also called aligned leases, high-performance leases, or energy-efficient leases) are rental agreements in which tenants commit to or gain incentives by participating in water/energy conservation, waste reduction and recycling, use of non-hazardous cleaning products, or other sustainable actions.

GREEN LEASE REQUIREMENT

Green leasing aligns the financial and environmental benefits of landlords and tenants to work together to save money, conserve resources, and ensure the efficient operation of buildings. These contractual arrangements can serve as a powerful mechanism to assist the commercial real estate industry in responding to market pressures and increase energy efficiency of the existing and newly constructed building stock.

Applicants must submit documentation showcasing specific clauses or language that promotes energy efficiency practices. The applicant must implement green leasing best practices or adopt a green lease. If the applicant chooses green leasing best practice, they are to implement at least three of the following:

  • Adoption of green lease between landlord and tenant. (High Priority of the County)
  • Obtaining LEED EB Operation and Maintenance (O +M) certification. More information on LEED Certification for existing buildings can be found here: LEED for Operations and Maintenance (High Priority of the County)
  • Installation of Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure. Examples of incentive programs for EV charging can be found here: Pepco’s EVsmart Program and Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Rebate Program 2.0. (High Priority of the County)
  • Building standards and/or tenant improvement guidelines for energy efficiency. For example:
    • Tenant improvements will conform to LEED C.I. standard or better.
    • Tenants will install ENERGY STAR appliances only.
    • This may also cover items like lighting specification or available plug load watts per square foot. (High Priority of the County)
  • Agreement to disclose monthly utility data to the landlord for the purposes of whole-building energy benchmarking by the landlord. Request the landlord share the ENERGY STAR score of the building and/or other energy and waste usage information on a regular basis.
  • Sustainable operations and maintenance rules and regulations. (Language should cover restricted HVAC weekend operating hours, janitorial services provided during daytime hours, tenants not allowed to bring in space heaters).
  • Sub-metering of tenant spaces or separate metering of tenant plug load and equipment, including data centers. Ideally tenants are billed per actual use rather than on a pro-rata basis.
  • Landlord agrees to incorporate energy management best practices into building operations, such as regular benchmarking, energy audits, or commissioning of building systems.
  • Landlord provides sustainability training to leasing agents and/or building marketing materials cover sustainability and energy efficiency features. (Documentation can include any relevant materials and is not expected to be included in a lease itself.)
  • Landlord designates a sustainability point of contact within the lease or related documents.
  • Lease language specifies that the landlord may sell power generated on-site to tenants at a competitive price.
  • Encourage the deployment of additional energy efficiency and conservation measures in the space and/or building (this could cover a range of language from agreeing to cost recovery clauses for capital improvement to agreeing to share the costs of LEED certification or retro-commissioning of the building).

NOTE: Of the green leasing best practices listed above, implementing any of the practices denoted as a high priority of the County will supersede requiring the implementation of three practices.

GREEN LEASE ACTIVITIES

For more information visit the Green Lease Library and the Green Lease Leaders application. The resources provides examples of green lease activities, responses are not limited to the examples provided. 

Examples of Eligible Energy Efficiency Measures

ASHRAE Level 2 Energy Audit or equivalent

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems

Energy management and/or control systems, including continuous commissioning

LED Lighting and control systems

Building envelope

Occupant plug load management systems

Water conservation and efficiency

ENERGY STAR certification process

Advanced metering to convert master-metered buildings to sub-metering

ENERGY STAR labeled appliances

Demand response programs  

Custom measures (evaluated on a case by case basis)

Domestic Hot Water Systems

Retro-commissioning

 

Examples of Eligible Natural Gas Measures

Boiler Systems

Small Boiler – Tier 1 and 2

Medium Pressure Steam Trap

Large Boiler – Tier 1 and 2

Steam Boiler Trap Repair/Replace

Boiler Cut Out Control

Outdoor Air Reset

High Pressure Steam Trap


Food Services

Convection Oven

Combination Oven

Conveyor Oven

Rack Oven

Gas Fryer

Gas Griddle

Gas Steam Cooker

Kitchen Demand Ventilation Controls

Spray Rinse Valve


Water and Space Heating

Large Furnace – Tier 1 and 2

Large Storage Water Heater

Small Furnace – Tier 1 and 2

Small Storage Water Heater

Infrared Heater

Large Tankless Water Heater

Wi-Fi Enabled Thermostat

Small Tankless Water Heater

FINDING A SERVICE PROVIDER/TRADE ALLEY

The information below is provided as a courtesy to applicants of the ENERGY STAR Certification & Green Leasing grant award, and should not be considered an endorsement of any company or organization.

Pepco’s C&I Energy Savings Program Service Provider Network is available here: (https://cienergyefficiency.pepco.com/Findally.aspx). 

Prince George’s County’s Supplier Development and Diversity Division (SDDD) maintains a directory of certified Prince George’s County suppliers as providers of goods & services, and/or contractors. SDDD strongly believes the certified firms in each directory have the skill and capability to deliver quality services and products. Applicants can visit https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/1315/Supplier-Directories or call 301-883-6480 for assistance.

Note: Please visit Pepco’s Commercial Energy Savings Program for any updates regarding changes to their incentive program in regards to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Washington Gas Incentives

Washington Gas participates in the EmPOWER Maryland initiative - helping businesses, local governments and other commercial customers throughout Maryland reduce their energy consumption and save money on utility bills. As part of the initiative, rebates are available on high-efficiency natural gas equipment. Rebates provide the perfect opportunity to save on overall operating costs.

Currently Washington Gas offers high-efficiency natural gas equipment rebates for boiler systems, water and space heating, and food service.

To learn more about the available rebates in each category, (Boiler Systems, Food Service, and Water and Space Heating) select your desired equipment category below for a full list of equipment rebates.

https://www.washingtongas.com/business-owners/savings/rebates#maryland

List of Washington Gas commercial contractors can be found here.

Note: Washington Gas recommends that all businesses and contractors follow any federal, state, or local orders and follow CDC guidelines (i.e., safe social distancing when working on jobsites) for COVID-19. 

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, and Sustainable Energy staff work with the applicant to address deficiencies. See Energy Star & Green Leasing grant award application for more details regarding application process.

Apply now and agree to share application and information with the ENERGY STAR grant award.

DOWNLOADABLE FILES: 

  1. Download Grant Instructions, Applications, and Terms/Conditions
  2. Click to read more information about benchmarking process
  3. Click to open the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager Data Collection Worksheet