Energy Star Certification & Green Leasing Grant Overview

Now Accepting Office Building Applications

We are currently accepting commercial applications for both Multifamily Housing building types as Office building type applications. As of July 31, 2019, the moratorium for office buildings has been lifted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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.

PROGRAM GOALS

The ENERGY STAR Certification and Green Leasing Grant Program 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.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

Grant 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, 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 Program 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 program targets office buildings and multifamily housing that are built prior to March 23, 2016, that are located in Prince George’s County, and are in the Pepco 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 service territory;
  • Must be in Prince George’s County;
  • Have applied to Pepco’s applicable commercial energy efficiency programs;
  • Has or will perform, at minimum, an American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Level 2 Commercial audit or demonstrably equivalent;
  • Has or will apply for Energy Star Certification on or after March 23rd, 2016.

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: 
  • Are at least 10,000 square feet; 
  • Be in operation, at least 30 hours per week; having at least 1 worker during the main shift.

Multifamily housing properties must contain:

  • 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. 

AVAILABLE INCENTIVES

Maximum grant available per application: $100,000

The following incentives are available to qualified applicants:

1. Grants to offset 50% of the out of pocket costs, after accounting for other available and applicable incentives, of implementing efficiency measures required to achieve ENERGY STAR certification.

a. If there is a moratorium on the availability of incentives from Pepco’s applicable commercial and industrial incentive programs, then subject to the availability of funds, other incentives, the $100,000 limit, and the discretion of the Agency Director, the program will fund up to 75% of the cost of measures required for ENERGY STAR certification. And,

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

Click here for the flow of the ENERGY STAR Certification and Green Leasing Grant Program 

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, 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?

Energy Benchmarking is a method used to determine whether a building is using more or less energy than its peer facilities with similar occupancies, climates, and sizes. Benchmarking is done by taking a buildings total energy use (typically converted to kBtu in the US and Watts elsewhere) and dividing by the building's total area. This number is frequently referred to as the Energy Usage Intensity or EUI, is then compared to buildings of the same use type (ex. Office Space) to determine how efficiently the building is utilizing energy. Through energy benchmarking, building auditing can then be pursued more effectively when determining which buildings are inefficiently using energy.

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

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 lease or related documents must contain at least three of the following:

  • Provision requiring regular scheduled tenant disclosure of utility data to facilitate whole-building energy benchmarking  
  • 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.)
  • 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.

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
  • LED Lighting and control systems
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems
  • Building envelope
  • Energy management and/or control systems, including continuous commissioning
  • Occupant plug load management systems
  • ENERGY STAR certification process
  • Water conservation and efficiency
  • ENERGY STAR labeled appliances
  • Advanced metering to convert master-metered buildings to sub-metering
  • Demand response programs
  • Domestic Hot Water Systems
  • Custom measures (evaluated on a case by case basis)
  • Retro-commissioning

 

FINDING A SERVICE PROVIDER/TRADE ALLEY

The information below is provided as a courtesy to applicants of the TNI Clean Energy Grant Program, and should not be considered an endorsement of any particular company or organization.

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

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

DOWNLOADABLE FILES: 

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