In January of this year, the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 was signed into law, establishing minimum Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) for existing buildings. The law requires all private buildings over 50,000 square feet to benchmark energy use and demonstrate energy performance above a median baseline beginning January 1, 2021. If a building does not score above the median performance, it has five years to demonstrate improvement or face financial penalties.
While quite a few of the details on enforcement are still being worked out, the median scores will be based on 2019 building performance and there are actions you can take today to get ready for BEPS.
Five Steps to Prepare for BEPS:
By definition, 50% of the buildings required to comply with BEPS will fall below the median. All buildings below the median, even those just a point or two under, will have to achieve a 20% improvement in energy performance before the next compliance cycle. If you think your building is on the borderline, the safe move is to start planning your improvements now, so you have time to implement and to see your energy savings.
- Check with DC to determine if your building is required to benchmark. DOEE publishes an annual Covered Building List for all buildings required to benchmark.
- Verify your benchmarking data through a third-party review. The Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act requires that all buildings verify benchmarking scores every three years. We recommend starting now to ensure you aren’t surprised by a big change in 2021.
- Conduct an energy audit to identify opportunities for energy savings in the building. Develop a plan for energy targets and improvements.
- If your building is part of a larger portfolio, begin analyzing how your building compares to other buildings in the portfolio. You may be able to find savings opportunities in other similar buildings.
- Start capital planning for deep energy retrofits for lower performing buildings and utilize the financial resources available, including DCSEU and the newly established Green Bank.
BEPS Compliance Timeline:
The graphic below illustrates the BEPS compliance timeline for a building falling below the initial 2021 baseline and the steps needed to demonstrate a 20% improvement in energy use in order to avoid any financial penalties.
As you can see, 2026 isn’t so far away once you begin to factor in all the steps necessary to design, install, measure and verify energy conservation measures in an existing building.
If you need help or have any questions about how BEPS will impact your building, Steven Winter Associates, Inc. can help. Our team of experts are ready to help you plan and track energy efficiency improvements across all of your buildings.
Written by Andrea Foss, Sustainability Director