Renewable energy has played a major role in the changing landscape of the construction industry. In the commercial building sector, contractors are installing advanced, on-site renewable energy technology like solar panels to reduce the environmental impact of projects. The success of these types of projects was proven in a five-year Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study that measured the ENERGY STAR scores of participating JCPenney stores.
Our Sarasota construction attorneys will explore this study to discover how on-site renewable energy can boost the value of your construction projects and save businesses money in this two-part series. If you have any questions about the legalities of installing on-site renewable energy technology on commercial buildings, consult a Sarasota construction attorney.
ENERGY STAR Buildings
Buildings that can attain an ENERGY STAR rating of 75 or higher are ranked among the top 25 percent of efficient buildings in the United States. Achieving this score permits a building to apply for ENERGY STAR certification. The popular clothing retailer, JCPenney, that now has 270 ENERGY STAR certified stores since spearheading the EPA’s pilot program, earned the distinction of ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year every year during the five-year study.
Working on projects that follow these principles give you an opportunity to employ green construction practices and leave an indelible imprint on the world. Investors are often eager to pair up with construction firms that have the knowledge and experience to construct energy efficient buildings. In the case of JCPenney, that meant installing rooftop solar arrays to collect energy, subsequently reducing environmental impact and cutting costs. JCPenney utilized a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA) to purchase the energy being generated by the rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. As a result, JCPenney was able to purchase sustainable electricity for less than the price of utility electricity.
Boosting Your Score
Unfortunately, the money an investor saves by using on-site renewable energy doesn’t factor into the ENERGY STAR score for a building. Evaluating the ENERGY STAR score for a commercial building is based on a number of factors including:
- The commercial building’s operations and energy usage patterns.
- The percentage of electricity produced by the solar array relative to the building’s gross energy (electricity and natural gas) consumption.
- The building’s initial rating, since the energy performance scale is based on a regression model and not a linear model.
Raising the ENERGY STAR score of a building requires a firm commitment between an investor and a contractor. Most contractors will need to employ specialized resources to complete these projects, so a contract must utilize precise language. In part two, our Sarasota construction lawyers will continue to discuss the many nuances of ENERGY STAR buildings.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.