What is the DC BEPS Program?
According to Boland Energy Engineer, Jessica Cremen, CEM, DC BEPS (Building Energy Performance Standards) is a six-year phased program, requiring buildings to continually reduce energy use over several phases. "We are currently in Phase 1, which means that every privately owned building over 50,000 square feet and every D.C. government-owned building over 10,000 square feet must be benchmarking its data through the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, an interactive resource management tool on Energy Star's website" said Cremen.
DC BEPS builds upon benchmarking requirements originally implemented in 2015 by the Department of Energy and Environment. At this time, the BEPS Program is only being implemented in the District of Columbia, but other local legislatures are considering the viability for similar programs.
Okay, so what is the new standard?
Standards for this program are based on building type and square footage. If a building's Energy Star score is at or above the standard, the building is in compliance. However, if a building is below the Energy Star score standard, it will need to follow one of four compliance pathways outlined below before the end of the performance period or be subject to fines. Owners will need to inform the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) of which pathway they will take by April 1, 2023.
Standard Pathway: the building must meet the standard (ENERGY STAR score or source EUI) for their property type
Performance Pathway: the building must achieve a 20% reduction in site EUI
Prescriptive Pathway: the building must meet reporting milestones and implement one or more recommended ECMs designed to achieve energy savings (does not rely on a performance evaluation at the end of the cycle)
Alternative Compliance Path (ACP): the building works with DOEE to create a plan to achieve energy savings comparable to the requirements in the performance pathway
If my building is not compliant, what penalties could I be facing?
Starting in 2021, buildings that do not meet the Energy Star Score Standard will be placed in a compliance cycle. Building owners have until the end of the cycle to meet the energy performance and reporting requirements of one of the compliance pathways.
"Fines will be adjusted based on how close buildings get to the reduction standards set by the program. So if a building gets 50% of the way there, for example, maybe a 10% reduction in energy usage, it's half of the fine," said Cremen. Luckily, there's good news! Most buildings in DC are already compliant in Phase 1. The Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) is eager to work with buildings in any way they can.
When does this take effect?
Building owners who operate buildings under 50,000 SF will be subject to a rolling compliance schedule as follows:
Privately-owned buildings > 50,000 SF: First BEPS cycle January 1, 2021 - December 31, 2026
District-owned buildings > First BEPS cycle January 1, 2021 - December 31, 2026
Privately-owned buildings 25,000 - 50,000 SF: Begin benchmarking during 2021, Data due April 1, 2022
Privately-owned buildings 10,000 - 25,000 SF: Begin benchmarking during 2024, Data due April 1, 2025
Second BEPS Compliance Cycle begins for buildings > 25,000 SF: January 1, 2027 - December 31, 2033
Third BEPS Compliance Cycle begins for buildings > 10,000 SF: January 1, 2033 - December 31, 2039
How do I get started on complying? Is there an easy button?
Step 1: Consult with an energy and legislation expert with resources, like Boland, to evaluate your current energy status
Step 2: Create a continuous improvement plan to modernize solutions to reduce energy and generate energy savings
Step 3: Perform quarterly analytics and make continuous upgrades
Our Applied Building Insights Team works with owners to perform quarterly analytics and make recommendations for something as simple as adjusting set points, to providing financial justification for equipment replacements, to developing phased plans to attain specific sustainability targets. Project types include building automation system upgrades, control upgrades, HVAC repairs or replacements, lighting upgrades, and energy supply services — really anything that will help achieve building goals.
If you are looking for an easy button, here it is. Fill out the consultation request below and one of our energy experts will reach out to you.