DC’s Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) Program

How will BEPS affect building owners?

BEPS stands for Washington DC’s Building Energy Performance Standards – and it’s a key component towards achieving the aggressive sustainability goals set forth by the District to become the healthiest, greenest, most livable city for all residents by within a generation. The plan includes the following goals:

  • 50% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2032*
  • Carbon neutrality by 2050
  • 50% reduction in District-wide energy use by 2032**
  • 100% renewable electricity in the District by 2032

The standards are based upon the median ENERGY STAR score of buildings that have reported benchmarking data to DC. For projects that are not eligible for an ENERGY STAR score, the standard is based on source energy use intensity (EUI). Currently, private buildings 50,000 square feet or greater must comply. By the third compliance period, all buildings 10,000 square feet or greater will need to comply. For buildings using the COVID-19, one-year delay, the first compliance cycle started January 1, 2021, and ends December 31, 2026, for private buildings 50,000 square feet or larger. The second compliance period and the phasing in of buildings 25,000 square feet and larger starts January 2027 and the third compliance period, which will include 10,000 square feet buildings, starts in 2033.

Graphic courtesy of the DC Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE)

The Standard for Cycle 1

Building Type ENERGY STAR Score- Standard
Office Buildings 71
Hotels 54
Multifamily 66
K-12 Schools 36
Hospitals 50

How will BEPS affect building owners?

If the building’s ENERGY STAR score is at or above the standard, the building complies for this performance period. Any projects with ENERGY STAR scores below the standard will not comply and will need to follow one of four pathways before the end of the performance period or be subject to fines. Owners will need to inform DOEE of their pathway selection by April 1, 2023.

  • Standard Pathway – the project must meet the standard (ENERGY STAR score or source EUI) for their property type.
  • Performance Pathway – the project must achieve a 20% reduction in site EUI.
  • Prescriptive Pathway – the project must follow specified efficiency measures which are outlined in the Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) Compliance and Enforcement Guidebook for Compliance Cycle 1 (Guidebook)
  • Alternative Compliance Path – project works with DOEE to create a custom pathway for compliance.


The penalty for non-compliance at the end of the BEPS cycle is $10 per square foot up to a maximum of $7,500,000. Penalties will be proportionally adjusted based upon the distance a project gets to its intended target as outlined here.

New Buildings

New buildings will be subject to benchmarking and BEPS after the first full calendar year of occupancy, so projects should be designed to meet or exceed the standard. Building to Code Compliance may not be enough to meet the standard. Projects should work with their design team and employ energy modeling early in project design to ensure the project is on track to meet efficiency targets.

The standard will change each cycle based upon the performance of the buildings required to benchmark, so projects that meet the standard now may still need to make improvements to stay in compliance for future cycles.

There’s now a requirement every three years for third-party verification of benchmarking data, beginning in 2024 for the calendar year 2023. Third-party verification must be completed by a Professional Engineer (PE); Licensed Architect; Certified Energy Manager (CEM); Building Energy Assessment Professional; or any other additional data verifier license or training program credentials recognized by the Department and posted to its website.

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: began January 1, 2021
  • District-owned buildings >10,000 SF: began January 1, 2021
  • Privately-owned buildings 25,000-50,000 SF: began benchmarking January 1, 2022
  • Privately-owned buildings 49,999-25,000 SF: began January 1, 2023
  • Privately-owned buildings 10,000-25,000 SF: begin benchmarking January 1, 2025
  • Privately-owned buildings 24,999-10,000 SF: beginning January 1, 2026
  • Second BEPS compliance cycle begins for buildings >25,000 SF January 1, 2027
  • Third BEPS compliance cycle begins for buildings >10,000 SF January 1, 2033

How can GHT support building owners?

GHT Limited’s Operations & Energy Services team is here to support building owners with their BEPS compliance. Not sure about your current ENERGY STAR score? Wondering what improvements are needed to comply? Contact our team today for a site survey and energy audit to find out where you stand.


*Compared to 2006 levels

**Relative to 2012