The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has come up with a new energy labeling system for buildings that will be more in-depth and more aggressive than the Energy Star labels for buildings. The new system called the Building Energy Quotient will be unveiled this fall and will assign grades like a report card to all types of buildings except residential ones.
The Building EQ will consist of two different ratings based on energy use per square foot per year. One will factor in the building's design while the other will rate its energy saving performance. Both areas will be graded on a scale of A+ to F, with A+ meaning a building accomplishes net zero energy (it produces the same amount of energy it consumes) while an F will go to those buildings considered unsatisfactory.
While there is definite overlap between this rating system and Energy Star, Building EQ goes beyond the former's pass/fail labels and makes the best grades tougher to come by. An Energy Star building would receive a grade of B on the Building EQ scale, while a typical commercial building would get a C. The new program is not as encompassing as LEED though, which takes into account water use and overall environmental impact of a building, not just energy use.
As we get closer to mandatory labels for buildings, developers will now have three voluntary rating systems to choose from, hopefully placing a premium on those buildings that achieve the highest ratings and making energy efficient buildings the norm and inefficient ones a thing of the past.