Important Updates Regarding DC Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS)
The DC government recently announced that the public comment period for the proposed Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) has been extended from February 2, 2021, to March 4, 2021.
What is BEPS?
BEPS builds on the benchmarking requirements implemented in 2015. The standards are based upon the median ENERGY STAR score of reporting buildings. For projects that are not eligible for an ENERGY STAR score, the standard is based on source energy use intensity (EUI). Starting this year, 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. The first compliance cycle starts 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 Jan 2027 and the third compliance period, which will include 10,000 square feet buildings, starts in 2033.
The Proposed Standard
|Building Type||ENERGY STAR Score- Standard|
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 February 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 will be released in a future guidebook.
- Alternative Compliance Path – project works with DOEE to create a custom pathway for compliance.
|Building Size||Maximum Fine|
|500,000 SF +||$7.5M|
|Campuses 3M SF +||$15M|
|Campuses under 3M SF||$7.5M|
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.
This set of regulations and procedures, which will fundamentally transform the way the A/E/C community does business in the District. It will be the responsibility of every architect to be literate in this program. Join us on February 25, 2021, at 11:30 am for a free live session covering the BEPS program. We encourage audience members to come with questions they have about the program so everyone can prepare to submit comments before the public comment period for BEPS closes on March 4, 2021.
As GHT Limited’s Sustainable Programs Manager, Associate, Meghan McAvoy, LEED AP, WELL AP, TRUE Advisor directs GHT’s Sustainable Programs Studio and delivers comprehensive green building consulting services. She manages third-party certification for diverse building types including office, retail, restaurants, and multifamily. Meghan regularly participates in BEPS Task Force contributing ideas and staying up to date with the district’s latest regulations.