Jul 17, 2020 | Trends, Sustainability

Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS)

In the fall of 2019, the Washington, DC Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) sent out its first Energy Benchmarking DC Scorecard. The Scorecard is a customized ranking of a building’s energy performance in comparison to similar buildings in the District. These scores are the first step in meeting compliance requirements of the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018. The act requires owners of buildings over 50,000 square feet to meet a specified energy performance target. The District’s Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS) will be a key part of DC’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and becoming carbon neutral.

The energy performance threshold will be “at least” the local median ENERGY STAR score by property type. What this means is that half of the existing buildings over 50,000 square feet will be required to improve their energy efficiency within 5 years. That’s a lot of buildings. This standard goes into effect starting January 1, 2021. Buildings between 25,000 and 49,999 square feet will be held to the standard starting January 1, 2027 and buildings between 10,000 and 24,999 square feet will start on January 1, 2033.

There’s more news. On April 20, 2020, St. Louis passed a Building Energy Performance Standard. St. Louis is the first city in the Midwest and the fourth in the country to pass a BEPS. New York City and the State of Washington enacted similar standards and are leading a national trend of leveraging existing building stock efficiency to achieve climate change goals. More cities and localities are going to implement BEPS for their existing stock as part of climate action plans. This is an exciting and positive trend and the burden for its success lies with private building owners.

Savvy building owners have already started integrating energy efficiency into their building management strategy and partnering with an energy service provider such as Albireo. Reducing energy usage to achieve savings in costs is an obvious and excellent strategy, but aligning planned projects with the compliance requirements of BEPS now, will ease the burden later, when BEPS goes into effect. There are many ways that Albireo is providing answers to building owners in methods of compliance.

Albireo’s energy services process includes analysis, establishing goals and implementing energy conservation measures. A building energy audit is often the best first step to provide data that points to pathway selection. BEPS allows the selection of one of multiple pathways to achieve compliance: a performance pathway, a prescriptive pathway and other alternative pathways as determined by the DOEE. Albireo will collect benchmarking data, inspect current building systems and their operating performance, and review operating practices to begin the conversation around correcting inefficiencies and identify areas for improvement. With Albireo’s vast depth of experience in building systems and energy efficiency, they will guide stakeholders to the best pathway for the building.

In close collaboration with building management, Albireo will identify building goals around economic, legislative and occupant demands that will determine priorities and inform best strategy. Albireo is familiar with local and national rebates and incentives that are available and will manage the rebate and incentive process to reap maximum rebate revenue for the project.

Albireo’s value as a partner continues through the implementation stage of the project. Albireo provides end-to-end HVAC Equipment and Controls services, Building Automation Services, and Expert project and construction management. Once new systems are in place, Albireo conducts in-house training for building operators to ensure equipment is operated at its highest performance level.

The cities that are implementing BEPS right now are going to be the role models for the future. These standards are going to eventually seep into every city and trickle down to every building owner. Although, smaller facilities do not need to reach compliance yet, stakeholders in the smaller size buildings should begin to include energy efficiency goals as they go forward. Smaller buildings have smaller budgets to work within and stretching out the costs of required improvements over a longer period of time will ease any burden created by meeting BEPS.

As existing building stock improves through compliance, the median performance targets are going to become more difficult to achieve without major investment unless building owners prepare their strategies now. Albireo can help building owners quickly begin the process of understanding what their building will need and how to accomplish it. Improving energy efficiency is a smart investment, get ahead of the trend and start now with a call to Albireo.

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