A fuel cell is a technology that produces electricity from a fuel source, such as natural gas or hydrogen. To benchmark a property with a fuel cell, you should enter the input fuels in energy meters. For example, if your fuel cell uses natural gas as an input to produce electricity and/or heat then you would enter a meter for the natural gas that you purchase. If your fuel cell does not run on natural gas or other fuel types listed in Portfolio Manager, you may still quantify the total fuel consumption of the fuel cell, using a meter of the type “Other”. You do not need to meter or enter the electricity your fuel cell produces.
The efficiency of the fuel cell will be reflected in your ENERGY STAR score. The more efficient your fuel cell the more electricity you will produce per input of fuel. Therefore, your gas/hydrogen meter will show lower consumption for the same amount of electricity production. This will result in a higher score.
However, please note that the emissions reductions associated with your fuel cell will not be accounted for in your GHG emissions calculation. A fuel cell chemically converts the input fuel, which unlike combustion is a process that produces very little to no greenhouse gas emissions. However, when we determine GHG emissions factors for each fuel type, we base those factors on the most standard and common technologies across the country. Therefore our gas factor is reflective of combustion, not fuel cells. Although Portfolio Manager is not able to properly account for the reduced emissions from the input fuels used by a fuel cell, you may subtract the emissions associated with this fuel use for a more accurate estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions for your property.
Please note that EPA reviews the list of available fuel types regularly to consider possible additions. We welcome your suggestions if you purchase a fuel that is not currently listed in Portfolio Manager.