Why Is My Energy Star Score Different Than My Measurabl Sustainability Rating?

“Why is my ENERGY STAR score different than my Measurabl Sustainability Rating?”

This is the most common question we’ve received after rolling out our Measurabl Sustainability Rating (MSR). To answer it, we’ve invited Scott Knox, our data scientist who built the Measurabl Sustainability Rating, to spotlight key differences between ENERGY STAR and MSR.


Average ENERGY STAR Score in Measurabl is 80

Measurabl users are the best of the best. Therefore, many of the buildings in the Measurabl database are more efficient than the average building in the US.

In fact, the average ENERGY STAR score across all buildings in Measurabl is 80. MSR has an average rating of 50 across all of the buildings in our database. To clarify, the Energy Star Score of a building does not necessarily have a direct correlation or ratio to the building’s MSR; rather, this is simply providing context for how greatly the two benchmarking systems can differ.


Measurabl Sustainability Rating Accounts For All Utilities

We hold our clients to a different and higher standard than ENERGY STAR does for its building performance rankings. The Measurabl Sustainability Rating takes into account all utility data available – so, if your building has energy (i.e. electricity, fuel, and district) and water data, your MSR will reflect the efficiency of your building’s energy and water consumption.

Update 9/1/17

The MSR offers a weighted utility break out to account for the way a building’s use affects performance. The benchmark is allocated as follows:

  • 54% comes from electric, fuel, and district consumption. These are all energy factors that may not be applicable to every building, depending on the geographic location of the site.
  • 29% comes from carbon emissions; this is influenced by energy consumption as well as energy generation source (e.g. traditional vs. renewable).
  • 17% comes from water consumption.

However, Energy Star Scores only accounts for energy and does not account for water use. This can cause a building’s MSR to diverge greatly from its ENERGY STAR score. To better understand how a building received its rating, our breakdown in the app provides more insights into the building usage.



MSR Uses Current, Real Data; ENERGY STAR Score Uses Representative Samples from 2004

The ENERGY STAR score is a benchmark against a nationally representative sample of buildings taken in 2004 from Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS). Measurabl benchmarks buildings based on energy and water consumption data in our database that is updated daily.

In other words, ENERGY STAR is working with data from 13 years ago. Even the “new” 2012 CBECS data (already 5 years old) is showing major improvements in building performance. The preliminary comparison of data from the 2012 CBECS to the 2004 survey has shown buildings have become more efficient in the eight years from 2004 to 2012. Consequently, even high-performing buildings will likely see their ENERGY STAR scores go down when the building scores for ENERGY STAR are adjusted with 2012 CBECS data.

For better context, think about the athletic performances we’re seeing today. It would be unfair to compare marathon runners of today to those who competed years ago – the athletes are just so much better prepared, have access to better equipment and techniques, and perform at a higher efficiency, and therefore log better results than they did just a generation ago. Buildings are the same way – building performance today is much more efficient than it was a decade ago. Thus, using outdated data for a benchmarking system does not produce accurate results.


MSR Changes With Database Fluxes

Your MSR may fluctuate as more information on your building’s performance is loaded into our database, as well as adjust to account for new peer building data entered into our system. With more data from you and your peers, we are able to build a more robust benchmark to compare your building’s performance relative to others. However, the ENERGY STAR Score is a static score that does not reflect new information entered into the system – this gets back into the earlier topic of using outdated data. The MSR is built to be a living benchmark for your building performance that changes as your building improves.


How Does MY MSR Help Me?

The Measurabl Sustainability Rating helps you accurately understand the individual components of how your building is performing when compared to peer buildings in the Measurabl database as well as compared to buildings within your own portfolio. With the breakdown of electric, water, district, and fuel scores, you can better understand how you are getting your overall MSR and the way each utility plays a role in contributing to that ranking.

Additionally, when assessing high and low performers in your portfolio, the MSR can help you identify target properties and the types of projects that may help increase efficiency. For example, your MSR may highlight that your water consumption is particularly high compared to similar buildings. You could then initiate a water efficiency project to bring water usage to a level more in line with peer buildings.

The MSR is meant to provide a more accurate, holistic picture of how your building is performing compared to its peers. If you’re not happy with your rating, there is good news: you can do something about it. The MSR lets you know where you’re at, and the software’s trends and analytics can help you determine which buildings in your portfolio fall short so you can target those buildings for efficiency improvements.

Measurabl empowers any company, regardless of size or type, to achieve sustainability using software to measure, manage, and act upon data. Our online software that lets you quickly and accurately file sustainability reports such as GRESB, CDP and GRI. Learn more, or get started with a free trial.