The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will this fall introduce a new energy rating system that will rank buildings from A+ to F.
A+ will be reserved for buildings that are "net zero" -- those that produce as much energy onsite as they consume. At the other end of the scale, F will be applied to "unsatisfactory" facilities.
The system is called Building Energy Quotient, or Building EQ. According to ASHRAE, Building EQ will expand upon the information available from the EPA's Energy Star program. Energy Star gives buildings a single pass or fail rating.
Building EQ focuses more on energy than does the Green Building Council's LEED rating system, which looks at a building's entire environmental profile. This includes "energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts."
Building EQ will be voluntary. ASHRAE admits it is an aggressive standard, with the lofty goal of pushing the building industry toward net zero.