In general, EPA recommends you enter as few Property Uses as possible. For example, say you have an office with a restaurant and health club. EPA recommends that you enter one Property Use (Office), and include the Gross Floor Area (GFA) and energy of the restaurant and health club within the Office Property Use. Also include the Property Use Details (Number of Workers, Computers, etc.) from the restaurant and health club with the Office Property Use.
- If the Property Use can get an ENERGY STAR Score*.
- Retail can only get a score if it is more than 5,000 sq ft.
- Multifamily Housing can only get a score if there are at least 20 units
- Here is a list of requirements to get an ENERGY STAR Score for different property types
- If it accounts for more than 25% of the property's GFA
- If it is a vacant/unoccupied Office or Medical Office (and the vacancy is greater than 10% of the property's GFA)
- If the Weekly Hours differ by more than 10% for the same Property Type AND that Property Type can get a score (ex: you have two Office tenants, and their hours differ by more than 10%)
If your property cannot get a score, then breaking out a separate property use type will NOT affect any of your metrics, so only do it if it helps you track your properties. The National Median for comparison in this case is the “Portfolio Manager-Calculated Property Type” (which is the property type that is over 51% of the GFA, or "Mixed Use" if none of the property types are above 50%).
Why? While it may seem logical and orderly to break out each Property Use separately, it does not increase the accuracy of your score (unless the Property Use Type can get a score). The ENERGY STAR score is typically based on CBECS data, which keeps a building designated as a single type as long as that type accounts for 75% or more. The Office in this example would be called “Office” in CBECS (provided the restaurant, health club and dry cleaner were less than 25% of the GFA). You’ll receive the most accurate score if you match this CBECS approach. In fact, even if you enter these Uses separately, Portfolio Manager will add them back together into the Office Property Use before calculating your metrics. Also, entering one Property Use will simplify your property and make trouble shooting errors easier.
*If you add a property use type that can get a score (such as Retail), but does not meet the requirements to get a score (such as a 4,000 sq ft retail space), then your property will not get a score. In this case, you must combine the 4,000 sq ft retail with the main property use.