BEPS Drives Major Renovation Efforts in the District for Compliance

By Laura Morder, PE, LEED Green Associate

As District building owners embark on BEPS compliance efforts to meet the December 312026 deadline, GHT Limited engineers are seeing an increased demand from the market for Operations and Energy Services. 

If your building is currently not in compliance with the minimum energy efficiency thresholds for the District’s BEPS program, you may want to consider one of the following avenues: 

Benchmarking Verification  

As the District uses a building’s benchmarking performance as reported in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as the method for determining compliance for most building types, owners may want to consider Portfolio Manager verification services if their building is not in compliance. Confirming the data entered in Portfolio Manager can be the first step to determining how best to comply with the BEPS program. 

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has relied on licensed professionals to verify ENERGY STAR applications for commercial buildings prior to submission to ensure the reported information is accurate and complete. This is the reason the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions, as well as property owners, have embraced the Portfolio Manager platform to record Energy Benchmarking data.  GHT Limited has been a verified provider for these services since the program’s inception and our team consists of registered, licensed professionals with Professional Engineer (PE) licenses who possess a comprehensive understanding of ASHRAE Standards 55 and 62.1, as well as applicable regulations in our local jurisdictions and the nuances of how property information should be recorded into Portfolio Manager. 

Typical Benchmarking Verification Scope of Work: 

  1. Visit and walk through the property to verify the Portfolio Manager data and condition of the building.
    • Verify data inputs entered into Portfolio Manager are accurate and complete.  
    • Review the indoor environmental quality for compliance with ASHRAE 55 and 62.1, including CO2 and illumination levels. 
  2. Upon review, recommend any changes to input data to accurately represent building and user conditions.   

For each verification, the owner provides access to the property, existing construction documents and pertinent data, as well as the following information: 

  1. Average weekly operating hours, number of workers and computers for commercial office buildings. 
  2. Number of resident units and number of bedrooms for multi-family properties. 
  3. Other data as required for different property types.
  4. Consumption of all energy sources used within the building.  (Twelve months of energy consumption data of each energy source) 
  5. Any testing information that has been done to the building, i.e., ventilation, air, and water, etc. 
  6. Access to the Portfolio Management account. 

At the end of the verification process, GHT helps document the changes made to the Portfolio Manager account and continues to act as a resource to the Owner’s ongoing benchmarking and reporting efforts.   

ASHRAE Energy Audits 

Understanding your building’s energy usage is the first step in creating a plan for energy conservation and can be a great investment to begin any BEPS compliance effort. Having a qualified engineer perform an ASHRAE energy audit for your building will establish a baseline from which future energy savings can be measured.  

Our engineers are trained to perform ASHRAE Level I, Level II and Level III Energy Audits in accordance with ASHRAE’s Procedure for Commercial Building Energy Audits. You can choose the right level based on your needs: 

  1. Level I – Provides a walkthrough analysis at a high-level perspective of a building’s operation and energy usages. This includes comparison to similar buildings and identifies areas for additional study. 
  2. Level II – Provides energy survey and analysis which builds upon the foundation of a Level I audit. This includes detailed study of data gathered from site survey, interviews with facilities staff and review of utility bills. This is recommended for any owner seeking data to substantiate the need for improvement projects. 
  3. Level III – Provides detailed engineering analysis which builds upon the studies performed during Level I and Level II Audits. This includes further analysis of utility data, sub-metered energy usage and recommendations for capital improvement projects. 

Level I Audit Scope of Work: 

  1. Review mechanical and electrical system design, and energy bills provided by owner. 
  2. Conduct a site survey. 
  3. Research and develop site specific no-cost and low-cost practical energy conservation measures (ECMs). 
  4. Develop conceptual capital improvement recommendations.  
  5. Prepare a breakdown of the total annual energy use based on design data, site observations, and past utility bills. 
  6. Prepare a report that contains the following:  
    • A summary of energy use and cost associated with each end-use and a discussion on how calculations were performed. 
    • A summary description of the building describing major energy using equipment. 
    • A list of energy saving measures that GHT believes to be practical and a brief description including preliminary cost estimates. 

Level II and III audits build on this process with further study of improvements for energy and cost savings.  Once the audit process is complete, the audit team is able to assist with development of Capital Expenditure plansdesign documentation to implement accepted ECMs, act as third party reviewers, or act as an Agent for the Owner to follow through on the accepted audit recommendations. 

MEP Systems – Equipment Replacements 

If replacing equipment is a priority for your building, consider first obtaining an MEP systems evaluation from our team. This service includes documentation of the age and condition of all existing equipment, review of your building’s current maintenance schedules and a study of your sequence of operations. When evaluated in conjunction with available utility bills and your goals for equipment performance, space constraints and capital/operating budgets, our team may be able to devise a solution which replaces components over systems. When systems replacement is the best option, our engineers can recommend systems with operational changes to improve efficiency, reduce operating costs and repair dysfunctional components. Our work includes site visits, interviews with facility operations staff and a comprehensive issue report to address owner concerns.  

Retro Commissioning 

When your building’s operations need a tune-up, consider retro commissioning as a service to ensure BEPS compliance. Our engineers approach commissioning as a process and not just a task – when executed properly, retro commissioning projects can help solve immediate performance issues while also developing strategies for long-term functional improvements. If Retro Cx is the right path for your building, our team will conduct a handson retest of your building’s operations, with a focus on addressing equipment that is not operating as intended. These efforts yield both improved control and performance, which can reduce operating costs over the building’s lifecycle and lower your property’s energy needs, helping you meet BEPS thresholds.  

BEPS Compliance Consulting 

When you’re not sure where to begin, engaging GHT Limited in a BEPS Compliance Consulting Agreement can be a helpful first step on the path to compliance. By entering into this agreement with GHT Limited, a building owner can gain access to a host of GHT services – from energy audits and studies, to assistance with design and construction of energy conservation measures (ECMs). Under this structured agreement, GHT also provides support between the first BEPS compliance cycle and the established next threshold to respond to DCRA questions regarding compliance documentation. 

Specific BEPS consulting services can be tailored to your building’s needs and include any, or all, of the following: 

  1. Baseline BEPS Analysis during Year 1 – audit of building’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account; recommendations for modifying building description within Portfolio Manager; perform energy audits; creation of an energy model; assistance with compliance path selection. 
  2. Implementation of ECMs during Years 2 through 5 – coordination with Owner to execute planned energy conservation projects, including design and construction; verification of energy consumption and performance; review of incentive and financing options, including assistance with documentation; design-build and construction management services through our wholly owned subsidiary Insight Construct, LLC. 
  3. Annual Reporting – preparation of annual reports during each compliance year outlining the building’s progress towards BEPS compliance; the annual report will measure project success and include any corrective actions to meet compliance target goals. 

Compliance is a Moving Target 

GHT’s Operations and Energy Services (OES) team understands that building owners have many questions as they digest and attempt to comply with the District’s latest set of performance standards, as well as position their properties to deal with future trends regarding building electrification, greenhouse gas emissions and resiliency preparation. Our trusted team of engineers is available to help troubleshoot scenarios specific to your building – often for a nominal cost or custom consultation fee arrangement. Contact us today to learn how you can get started on the path to compliance. 

As a Mechanical Design Engineer for GHT’s OES Studio, Laura Morder, PE, LEED Green Associate provides project management services and detailed mechanical engineering design solutions for commercial building projects in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. With nearly a decade of experience, Laura’s ingenuity has shaped countless commercial interior fitouts, central plant designs and building modernizations. Laura is also co-founder of Women in ASHRAE for the National Capital Chapter and an advocate for future generations of female engineers in the industry. She can be reached at