The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has launched the pilot phase of a new building energy labeling program. The Building Energy Quotient program, which will be known as Building EQ, focuses on energy use in all buildings except residential, and offers two ratings. An Asset rating or As Designed rating assesses a building based on the components specified in its design, such as mechanical systems, building envelope, orientation, and daylighting. This rating is based on the results of a field inspection and a building energy model. An Operational rating or In Operation rating examines the actual energy use of existing buildings or new buildings that have been in operation for a minimum of 12-18 months. The combined goal of both ratings is to provide building owners and operators information regarding a building’s potential for energy efficiency as well as an overview of its current performance, with encouragement toward building and operating net zero energy buildings.

The voluntary program consists of three components, the most visible being a label that is designed to assist in public disclosure. Buildings are ranked on a graded scale, from A+ (representing net zero energy) to F (representing unsatisfactory). Along with the label, participants also receive a certificate containing more technical information about a building’s score, as well as documentation that provides a more in-depth look at the information contained in both the label and the certificate.

The cost for obtaining the label or participating in the program has not yet been determined. The pilot phase of Building EQ will continue through 2010, with a full-scale launch of the program expected in late 2010. Current participants in the pilot program include:

- The Durst Organization, the owner, manager, and builder of 9 million square feet of midtown Manhattan office and residential properties, will include 4 Times Square, 1155 Avenue of the Americas, and One Bryant Park in New York City in the pilot;


- The U.S. General Services Administration, the primary agency responsible for the acquisition and management of federal buildings that owns or leases 8,600 properties and maintains an inventory of more than 354 million square feet of workspace for 1.1 million federal employees;


- Seattle-basedWright Runstad and Co., which develops, acquires, manages, and leases high-quality commercial office buildings located primarily in the Pacific Northwest;


- Ashforth Pacific in Portland, Ore., a real estate firm that owns, develops, and invests in assets and provides third-party services, including assets and property management, general contracting, and construction management;


- BNIM Architects, a leader headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., whose work includes three pilot projects: The Omega Center for Sustainable Living in Rhinebeck, N.Y.; the Internal Revenue Service, Kansas City Campus, Kansas City, Mo.; and the Fayez S. Sarofin Research Building, home of the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases, the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston;

Hines, a privately owned real estate firm involved in real estate investment, development, and property management worldwide that has headquarters in London and Houston;


- The Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority, which oversees one pilot project, the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, which is home of six branches of city and county government including circuit and probate courts, city and county clerks, and the executive and legislative branches of the city of Detroit;


-The Michigan Department of Management and Budget, which acquires and manages properties for many of the state’s agencies; and


- Russell Development Co., which has produced significant commercial buildings in downtown Portland, Ore.

For more information on Building EQ, visit