Using Codes and Performance Standards to Modernize Buildings
Kim Cheslak and Erin Beddingfield, formerly of NBI, and Camille Kadoch, RAP
We spend most of our time indoors, and our experience is shaped by codes and policies governing buildings. These are regulations that outline building design, construction, alteration, maintenance and operation. Building codes, which apply to new construction and significant renovations, specify the minimum requirements to adequately safeguard the health, safety and welfare of building occupants. Energy codes are one aspect of building codes and cover the building itself, including the wall, floor and ceiling insulation, windows, and air and duct leakage.1 Increasingly, codes are being designed to address the potential impact of buildings on climate goals and carbon reductions. This shift in focus has led state and local governments to look beyond energy codes as the sole regulation on building performance to explore new options to ensure that the building stock can contribute to achieving climate, health and other goals.
Policymakers have a variety of options for building modernization, including innovative approaches to using traditional tools. These include:
- Improving consumer understanding of building modernization by directing state and local governments to provide residents with information about adopting energy-efficient and electrified building technologies.
- Enabling building energy audits, assessments or benchmarkingbenchmarking Establishing a baseline for a building’s energy use against which improvements can be measured. to gather information and inform building owners and future policy.
- Augmenting energy codes by expanding energy efficiency and electrification provisions or adopting stretch codes — local standards that are more ambitious than base code2 — or all-electric codes.
- Implementing building performance standards, which are outcome-based policies aimed at reducing the impact of the built environment by requiring existing buildings to meet energy and/or greenhouse gas emissions-based performance targets.3
This part of the toolkit focuses on codes and policies to modernize the building structure. It starts with background to explain the main types of policies in this area and provides illustrative examples of legislative action to update and modernize these policies.
Finding the right balance
Building codes and standards provide consumers with confidence in the buildings they rent and buy. They also provide the architecture, engineering and construction industry with confidence in the standards that buildings must meet. Care can be taken with the implementation of codes and standards to ensure that any slowdown in transaction time is balanced against societal gains from better infrastructure.
Consumer Education to Support Building Modernization
Most people will need to update or replace heating or air-conditioning systems in their home or commercial building at some point or need to increase the energy efficiency of windows or insulation. Empowering consumers with information about modern building technologies and the programs and policies affecting these technologies within a state is a fundamental first step.
Educating building users is a key element to the wider of energy-efficient consumer products and to gaining broad support for policy options within jurisdictions. These efforts can help customers understand the benefits of energy efficiency improvements and building electrification. Successful energy efficiency, electrification and other building modernization education efforts can include utility bill inserts, in-store displays, demonstrations, social media campaigns and mass marketing.4 Education of building users goes beyond the purchase of a product and extends to optimizing building use and modifying behavior. State websites can be part of a coordinated effort among state agencies to advance energy efficiency and building electrification. This effort can support all types of building energy policies and may be a necessary component for any updated or expanded policy.
Building Energy Audits, Assessments and Benchmarking
Other policies such as energy audits, assessments and benchmarking provide valuable information about current building stock. Building energy audits and assessments are policies with varying requirements, but broadly they require a building to be audited (at varying levels of granularity) with some frequency. Policies may require that some or all of the energy conservation measures identified during the audit be undertaken. Some policies require retrocommissioning, which is the first stage in a building upgrade and is a systematic process to ensure the building’s systems can be operated and maintained according to the owner’s needs.5
Many jurisdictions have assessed the cost-effective potential of energy efficiency advancements in buildings. With advancements in electrification technology, new building assessments may be warranted to reexamine the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency and electrification upgrades. Assessments and audits can measure different things: Some jurisdictions focus these assessments on potential carbon emissions reductions; others focus on cost savings potential or health care savings due to more efficient, healthier homes.
Benchmarking is another valuable informational tool that establishes a baseline for a building’s energy use against which improvements can be measured. This baseline can help to identify existing buildings that are underperforming and can most benefit from further analysis and improvements.6 State and local governments frequently use this tool to prioritize public buildings for energy upgrades and to prioritize the building energy investment that will provide the greatest benefit for the least cost. Such data and analysis drives energy performance improvement, enables government to save taxpayer dollars, and builds public trust and confidence in the efficient use of taxpayer dollars.7 Starting building benchmarking policies with public buildings can also build experience and trust in the policy so that it can be effectively applied to residential and commercial buildings. Building benchmarking is a foundational element that can improve awareness of building energy performance and drive users to undertake building modernization upgrades.
Audits, benchmarking and assessments can be used as a stand-alone policy where building performance standards may not be feasible in the near term. They can also be used in conjunction with performance standards as part of a compliance package for buildings where meeting the established targets is technically or financially infeasible.
Energy Codes for Efficient and Healthy New Buildings
Energy codes8 are among the many building codes, such as fire and electrical codes, that cover the construction of the building itself. They set requirements for major systems that affect the energy efficiency of the building, including its envelope, heating and cooling, lighting and water heating.9 The United States does not have national building codes; states and many local governments adopt codes.10
The most commonly adopted model energy codes are the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)11 and the ASHRAE 90.1 standard.12 These codes are continuously updated on a three-year cycle to reflect improvements in the energy efficiency of major building components such as heating and cooling systems. By keeping pace with these advances, the codes lead to lower energy consumption in buildings and reduced operating costs. Today’s codes deliver savings of more than 30% compared with those of a decade ago, representing a total of over $60 billion saved.13 Adherence to energy codes and updates is projected to save U.S. homes and businesses $126 billion between 2012 and 2040, as well as 841 million tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions, which equates to the annual emissions of 245 coal power plants.14
The first national model energy codes were created in the 1970s in response to the energy crisis.15 Currently, 42 out of 50 states have adopted building energy codes for residential and commercial buildings; a handful of states had adopted the 2021 residential International Energy Conservation Code and the 2019 ASHRAE 90.1 commercial code by mid-2022.16 Regular advancements in building codes can help residents realize important energy and efficiency savings. U.S. Department of Energy analysis found that new homes that comply with the 2021 residential energy code will generate an average life-cycle cost savings of $2,254, compared with homes built according to the 2018 versions of the code.17
Recent U.S. legislation, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act18 (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act19 (IRA), has acknowledged the importance of up-to-date energy codes through resource allocation. The IIJA provides $225 million to states (and local jurisdictions by proxy) for code adoption and implementation support. The IRA provides $1 billion. This unprecedented funding allocation will help advance the adoption of modern codes at the state and local level, which will encourage the architecture, engineering and construction communities in these jurisdictions to prioritize energy efficiency and, in some cases, carbon efficiency.
The IRA funding, in particular, supports innovation because it is reserved for the adoption of model codes and stretch codes, which go beyond base requirements. The ability of municipalities to adopt more stringent standards than state codes depends on the extent of the local jurisdiction’s authority (see the text box below).
Many cities and a few states, concerned about health risks from gas appliances and the climate impacts of fossil fuels, are requiring all-electric systems in some building types. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five, and occasionally more than 100, times higher than outdoor levels of air pollution because no federal regulations address indoor air quality.20 Data indicate that gas stoves may be a particular problem for indoor air quality due to lack of ventilation requirements. Homes with gas stoves have approximately 50% to over 400% higher average nitrogen dioxide concentrations than homes with electric stoves.21 These all-electric building requirements have been implemented through local building codes in states that allow local jurisdictions to exceed state codes. Other states have enacted them through permitting offices. In the future, states may include all-electric building requirements in base and stretch codes.
A key difference in local avenues for innovation
Implementation of model and stretch building codes in states depends in part on whether the state follows home rule or Dillon’s rule on the matter of local authority.
Several states have home rule provisions that grant exclusive or expanded power to local government on certain issues, including building codes. Among home rule states, some allow localities to adopt building codes that are more stringent than any requirements at the state level, while some others require that local codes be no less stringent than state code.22 Where home rule allows for stricter standards, local jurisdictions are able to adopt better codes.
The majority of states follow some form of Dillon’s rule, in which the authority to adopt a code that differs from the state code must be specifically granted by the state.23 The most common model for allowing increased stringency is to provide a state base code and a state stretch code, as long as the grant of authority to local government to choose a code is clear. At least eight states have enacted stretch or model building codes that support local ambition to achieve greater energy savings than state requirements.24 Of these, five are Dillon’s rule states.
Building Performance Standards to Improve Existing Stock
Building performance standards are state and local laws that require existing buildings to achieve minimum levels of energy or climate performance.25 These laws create opportunities to modernize buildings that otherwise might remain stuck in the past. Energy codes apply to new buildings and some renovations but do little to improve existing buildings except during permitted construction work. The age of the building stock varies widely among states, with some in the Northeast having the oldest and some in the Southwest having the newest. Regardless of the age, these buildings, which can last many decades, may not be required to improve their health and energy performance absent new policy action.
Standards typically contain a combination of short- and long-term targets designed to ensure that building performance improves consistently over time and send appropriate market signals to encourage investments in long-lived, efficient retrofits. Throughout interim performance improvement cycles, jurisdictions collect data and work with the private sector, utilities and others to create incentive programs and provide technical assistance to achieve their goals. Depending on the policy design, standards can address many aspects of building performance simultaneously, including carbon reduction, building electrification, energy efficiency and peak demand reduction; a broadly written building performance standard (BPS) can even address resiliency and water use. If successfully implemented, a BPS can also transform buildings into grid management assets. State or local governments may adopt performance standards and apply them to existing commercial and multifamily buildings.26
Performance standards build on policy elements familiar to many jurisdictions, such as energy benchmarking and transparency. In its simplest form, benchmarking and transparency include measuring a building’s energy use and comparing it to the average for similar buildings and its own past performance and then making the energy performance and building characteristic information available to the market.27 For years, jurisdictions have been implementing benchmarking and transparency policies to understand how their existing building stock is performing.
In the infancy of benchmarking policies, there was a hope that transparency would create market conditions that would encourage owners to improve their buildings because they would realize that energy efficiency upgrades could increase market value and rental potential. However, access to building benchmarking data was limited, and the data were not very reliable or easy to use. The housing market’s understanding of what the data meant was limited as well. These limitations have meant that benchmarking and transparency policies alone and the expected market awareness that come along with them have not materialized into the level of energy and climate improvements that many jurisdictions have set as climate targets. Using benchmarking and transparency as a component of a policy tool like BPS that measures and requires progress toward a specific target or goal can, however, be useful for keeping buildings and jurisdictions on track toward goals.
The interactive map below shows where building performance standards are in place or under consideration.28
Source: Building Energy Codes Program. (2022, September 30.) State and Local Building Performance Standards
Impacts and Benefits of Expanding Building Energy Policies
Building policies, such as energy codes and building performance standards, provide significant benefits for building occupants, including lower energy use and reduced carbon emissions and building operations costs. These policies also improve occupant health, safety and comfort. Efficient buildings limit unwanted moisture, which can lead to mold and mildew that is harmful to health. Buildings that operate on electricity remove combustion sources from within the buildings themselves, improving indoor air quality, measures of occupant health and overall safety. Buildings that meet or exceed energy codes and building performance standards shelter residents against winter storms and heat waves and are more resilient in extreme weather.29
Setting state building codes or performance standards, or enabling municipalities to adopt their own, is generally a state legislative function. A legislature can either adopt a new energy code by title or, more commonly, by directing either a one-time or ongoing administrative action. Under Maryland law, for example, the relevant state agency is required to adopt each new version of the national model code within 18 months of when it is published.30
Many states have energy codes in place, but unless state law requires automatic adoption of the most recent codes, existing energy codes or building policies do not take advantage of recent technological advancements that decrease costs for building residents, along with carbon emissions and other air pollution. To date, most building policies focus on energy efficiency improvements, and some include provisions for renewable energy, with none outright requiring electrification and grid interactivity, though many are moving in this direction.
For states seeking to achieve the most modern and efficient buildings, the following actions can ensure consumers and states are realizing the greatest building benefits:
- Adopt the most recent model energy codes within 18 months of publication.
- Adopt or change legislation to mandate updates using the most recent model energy codes.
- Adopt or change legislation to allow for local jurisdictions to adopt a stretch code.
- Adopt a statewide BPS or adopt legislation allowing for local jurisdictions to adopt a BPS.
- Develop a road map for electrification of buildings.
- Lead by example by decarbonizing assets the state owns or leases.
- Provide up-to-date information educating consumers on building modernization practices, technologies, financing and regulations.
Early electrification leader
Washington state is an early leader in electrification updates. The State Building Code Council recently updated the 2021 state energy code to require builders to install electric heat pumps for space and water heating in most new commercial buildings and multifamily residences.31 Washington adopts new energy efficiency standards based on the International Energy Conservation Code every three years. Washington solicits proposals to amend those model codes, and the building code council facilitates public comment, refines the proposals and ultimately votes on them. The electrification proposals received strong public response. According to the chair of the council’s Energy Code Technical Advisory Group, roughly 5,000 letters supported the electrification proposals and 1,400 opposed. The council also sent several proposals requiring heat pumps in residential buildings to technical advisory groups for review.32 Washington state was also the first state to adopt a statewide building performance standard.
Recent technological advancements have changed the market for electrified space and water heating equipment. This equipment can now replace fossil-fueled equipment currently used across all U.S. climate zones.33 Highly efficient heat pumps, for example, can reduce operating costs. They also provide societal benefits through reduced carbon and other air emissions.
To support electrification, buildings and electrified devices have increasingly incorporated built-in controls that can shift energy use to times when there is less overall demand for electricity, when it is cheaper or when renewable energy generation is available. Controls also help move energy use away from times of high demand when there is greater need to draw upon more expensive and often more polluting generation resources. Controllable electrified loads from buildings can help make the grid more flexible and enable integration of variable renewable resources.34 Upgrading building codes to include electrification and grid interactivity requirements in addition to energy efficiency requirements is an essential next step to ensure that codes are optimized for occupant economics and health and public benefit.
The legislative options below illustrate different state approaches to modernizing buildings by specifically addressing electrified end uses in addition to energy efficiency.
Legislative examples in this section feature recent state actions to:
States will vary in how they implement these policies, and not all options will be appropriate or immediately possible for all states. States can consider policies most applicable to their circumstances, picking and choosing to customize to their needs while carefully sequencing opportunities for impact. Policymakers can enact some or all of these complementary provisions through a variety of actions, including legislative or council action, governor or mayoral executive order and voluntary program funding.
Consumer Education to Support Building Modernization
Providing information on how to modernize a home, commercial building or multiunit dwelling that covers new technology and best practices can encourage and enable consumers to perform energy-efficient or electrified upgrades. The Building Electrification Equity (BEE) Project realized that given the nascent state of building electrification, there was uncertainty about positive and negative consequences, and broader community engagement was needed to create a two-way information channel.35 Consequently, the BEE project recommends the development of online building electrification and equity resources to increase community awareness and capacity.36 Providing comprehensive information in one spot on building modernization practices, including energy efficiency and electrification, can provide necessary information to overcome inaccurate or outdated information.
Recognizing the value of information and the difficulty of finding it in a cohesive format for building electrification, California directed state agencies to provide this information for consumers on the Energy Commission website. Option 1 is based on S.B. 68 from California, which was signed into law in 2021.37 The legislation requires the California Energy Commission to gather or develop and publish on its website guidance and best practices to help building owners, the construction industry and local governments to overcome barriers to electrification of buildings and to support the installation of electric vehicle charging equipment.
Option 1 Provision: Building Modernization Information Database
(a) To help building owners to [decarbonize][modernize] buildings and add energy storage or electric vehicle charging capacity to buildings, the [state energy agency], in coordination with the [public utility commission], the [state housing agency], the [state building code department] and other relevant state agencies, shall gather or develop and publish on the [state energy agency]’s internet website guidance and best practices to help building owners, the construction industry and local governments overcome barriers to electrification of buildings and installation of electric vehicle charging equipment that include any of the following topics:
(1) Availability of electrical equipment for replacement of the common fossil-fuel-powered equipment within buildings, including high-efficiency options that can minimize electrical service capacity requirements.
(2) Approaches for energy budgeting to fit electrical replacements and vehicle charging equipment within the existing electrical service capacity of the building whenever possible, including guidance on how to maximize the use of the nonconcurrent electrical load that is allowed under the [state electrical code].
(3) Technologies that allow the noncoincidental sharing of electrical circuits.
(4) The development of whole-building electrification plans to help building owners prepare for future additions of electrical equipment, even if only a portion of equipment will be replaced, or energy storage or vehicle charging added, during an initial project. The plan may include wiring changes and energy planning to reduce the need for rework and help correctly size distributed energy and energy storage systems to anticipated future needs
(5) Model permit applications, an eligibility checklist for expedited permitting and a concise inspection list for the most common building electrification, energy storage or vehicle charging installation projects that would be suitable for adoption by local governments seeking to streamline and standardize permitting and inspections.
Assessments, Audits and Benchmarking
Data and other information is useful for shaping government policies and informing consumers about technology options. Governments can consider the following options in adopting building assessment, audit and benchmarking provisions in their building modernization policies:
- Option 2 directs government agencies to gather information on the potential to cost-effectively reduce building carbon emissions. Understanding the potential cost-effective reductions is critical to the development of building codes and other policies. Information also helps homeowners, builders and local governments integrate building and transportation electrification measures.
- Option 3 creates building benchmarking, which establishes a baseline for a building’s energy use against which improvements can be measured.
These options are not mutually exclusive, and states can (and have) adopted both types of provisions. Additionally, to get broader support, both types of policies can be staged to apply first to buildings owned by the jurisdiction and state and then to private buildings, both proving the concept and beginning to prime the market.
This option is based on California’s A.B. 3232, which was signed into law in 2018 and directs state agencies to assess the cost-effective potential for carbon emissions reductions from buildings.38 The results of this inquiry can inform future state efforts to decarbonize buildings, including requirements for building codes. In particular, the state energy commission is directed to consider the effects of energy efficiency, electrification and load management strategies, such as demand response and energy optimization. The provision could be modified to develop a study of the potential to increase efficiency and electrification by certain percentages.
Option 2 provides information on the potential carbon emissions that can be achieved by implementing cost-effective energy efficiency and building electrification policies. Consequently, it provides valuable data and analysis that can justify implementation of these policies in the future.
Option 2 Provision: Assessment of Emissions Reductions From Building Stock
(a) By [date], the [state energy agency], in consultation with the [public utilities commission], the [state air agency] and the independent system operator, shall assess the potential for the state to [reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases] and [improve efficiency and electrification] in the state’s residential and commercial building stock by [at least 40% below 1990 levels by January 1, 2030][x%]. The assessment shall include consideration of all of the following:
(1) An evaluation, based on the best available data and existing analyses, of the cost [per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent of the potential reduction from residential and commercial building stock relative to other statewide greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies][of improving building stock efficiency and electrification by [x%]].
(2) The cost-effectiveness of strategies to [reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from][improving energy efficiency and electrification of] space heating and water heating in both new and existing residential and commercial buildings.
(3) The challenges associated with [reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from][improving energy efficiency and electrification of] low-income housing, multifamily housing and high-rise buildings.
(4) Load management strategies to optimize building energy use in a manner that reduces [the emissions of greenhouse gases][consumer costs].
(5) The potential impacts of [emission reduction strategies][increasing energy efficiency and electrification by [x%]] on ratepayers, construction costs and grid reliability. In assessing the impact on grid reliability, the [public utility commission] shall account for the following:
(A) [State energy efficiency standards for buildings];
(B) [State penetration of solar energy systems on residential buildings];
(C) The increased load and impact on electrical infrastructure due to home and transportation electrification; and
(D) The increased flexibility and manageable load utilities can obtain due to home and transportation electrification.
(b) By [date], the [state energy agency] shall report to the legislature the findings from the assessment.
(c) Beginning with the [existing report or new reporting requirement] due on [date], and in all subsequent [reports to the legislature], the [state energy agency] shall include a report on the [emissions of greenhouse gases][increased energy efficiency and building electrification by [x%]], based on existing data, associated with the supply of energy to residential and commercial buildings, by fuel type. The [state energy agency] shall make this information publicly available on its website.
This option is based on a bill that was introduced in North Carolina39 to require benchmarking for energy and water use in public buildings. The bill also requires a plan that identifies protocols to determine action when building benchmarking indicates a need. Washington, Colorado, New Jersey and California have policies that require benchmarking of privately held buildings in addition to public buildings. Some of these benchmarking requirements are part of a building performance standard; some are stand-alone benchmarking policies. Building benchmarking is extremely useful for commercial and residential buildings as well. Benchmarking can help owners of commercial buildings monitor them and identify efficiency and energy use upgrades that can save money. Requiring building benchmarking for rental buildings and multifamily residences can also provide valuable information to potential renters so that they can identify apartments with costly energy bills before moving in. Brackets in the example below enable the benchmarking requirements to apply beyond public buildings.
Option 3 Provision: Building Benchmarking and Disclosure
(a) All [public][rental][multifamily][commercial] buildings shall be annually benchmarked for building energy use and building water use for the previous fiscal year by the [relevant state agency]. The [relevant state agency] shall make a request to owners of public leased buildings for annual benchmarking and shall include an annual benchmarking requirement in any lease renewal for a public leased building or in any request for proposal issued to potential lessors for leased space that would meet the definition of a public leased building. Benchmarking shall be conducted in accordance with the schedule outlined in this section. Disclosure of benchmarking information shall be in accordance with [cross-reference state law on public disclosure].
(b) All [public][rental][multifamily][commercial] buildings shall be benchmarked on an annual basis no later than [month, day] in accordance with the rules and procedures promulgated by the [relevant state agency]. The following shall be required by [date] for the first year in which a public building or covered building is to be benchmarked:
(1) All available benchmarking information from the previous year collected and accessible to the building owner.
(2) A building benchmarking plan composed of a written strategy to measure building-related information and establish protocols for informing action when benchmarking results suggest a need for action. A building benchmarking plan must be updated once every five years.
(c) No later than [date] after completing annual benchmarking for the prior fiscal year, the [relevant state agency] shall create a plan of action to unlock the cost-savings potential of information gathered from the benchmarking process, recommending improvements to building systems, equipment, materials, policies and procurement.
(d) The [relevant state agency] shall publish on its website and other means at its discretion the benchmarking information no later than one month after the date required for benchmarking completion. Annual reporting of the information required in subsection (a) of this section shall be made public and available on the [relevant state agency]’s website at the time of its publication.
Energy Code Legislation: Efficiency and Beyond
According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Energy Codes Program, 42 states have adopted or are substantially covered by local adoptions of residential and commercial energy codes.40 As noted above, energy codes have historically focused on energy efficiency requirements. The options below were selected to illustrate that building code legislation can focus on integrating electrification. This is not a comprehensive list of variations or of jurisdictions that have adopted policy on these specific decision points but is meant to provide tangible examples of how such elements have been implemented.
This option is based on Section 55 of the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA)41 and provides for a stretch energy code. Stakeholders in Illinois were unable to agree upon uniform changes to a single energy code, but many stakeholders were reluctant to allow multiple energy codes. The stretch energy code allows for two official code variations in the state, which helps provide certainty for the construction industry, while also allowing some variation in codes. Illinois joins seven other states — Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Georgia, California and Maine — that have adopted stretch building codes for optional adoption at the local level.42 The Illinois legislation provides direction on what the stretch energy code should include, the process for adoption, alternative compliance mechanisms and variances.
Option 4 Provision: Stretch Energy Code
(a) The [state board in charge of building codes, hereinafter “the board”], in consultation with the [relevant state agency], shall create and adopt the [state] stretch energy code, to allow municipalities and projects authorized or funded by the board to achieve more energy efficiency [and electrification] in buildings than the [state] energy conservation code through a consistent pathway across the state. The [state] stretch energy code shall be available for adoption by any municipality and shall set minimum energy efficiency requirements, taking the place of the [state] energy conservation code within any municipality that adopts the [state] stretch energy code.
(b) The [state] stretch energy code shall have separate components for commercial and residential buildings, which may be adopted by the municipality jointly or separately.
(c) The [state] stretch energy code shall apply to all projects to which an energy conservation code is applicable that are authorized or funded in any part by the board after [date].
(d) Development of the [state] stretch energy code shall be completed and available for adoption by municipalities by [date].
(e) Consistent with [relevant state statute], municipalities may adopt the [state] stretch energy code and may use utility programs to support compliance with the [state] stretch energy code. The amount of savings from such utility efforts that may be counted toward achievement of their annual savings goals shall be based on reasonable estimates of the increase in savings resulting from the utility efforts, relative to reasonable approximations of what would have occurred absent the utility involvement.
(f) The [state] stretch energy code’s residential components shall:
(1) Apply to residential buildings;
(2) Set performance targets using a site energy index with reductions relative to the [[year] International Energy Conservation Code]; and
(3) Include stretch energy codes with site energy index standards and adoption dates as follows:
(A) By no later than [date], the board shall create and adopt a stretch energy code with a site energy index no greater than [appropriate percentages based on state climate zone] of the [[year] International Energy Conservation Code]; by no later than [date], the board shall create and adopt a stretch energy code with a site energy index no greater than [x%] of the [year] International Energy Conservation Code; and
(B) [Unless the board identifies unanticipated burdens associated with the stretch energy code adopted in [year], in which case the board may adopt a stretch energy code with a site energy index no greater than [x%] of the [year] International Energy Conservation Code, provided that the more relaxed standard has a site energy index that is at least [x%] more restrictive than the [year] International Energy Conservation Code];
(4) Include electrification components, including, but not limited to:
(A) Electrification of all major systems;
(B) Demand responsive controls;
(C) Electrical vehicle charging spaces;
(D) On-site energy generation or readiness; and
(E) On-site energy storage or readiness.
(g) The [state] stretch energy code’s commercial components shall:
(1) Apply to commercial buildings;
(2) Set performance targets using a site energy index with reductions relative to the [[year] International Energy Conservation Code];
(3) Include stretch energy codes with site energy index standards and adoption dates as follows: by no later than [date], the board shall create and adopt a stretch energy code with a site energy index no greater than [appropriate percentages based on state climate zone] of the [[year] International Energy Conservation Code];
(4) Include electrification components, including, but not limited to:
(A) Electrification of all major systems;
(B) Demand responsive controls;
(C) Electric vehicle charging spaces;
(D) On-site energy generation; and
(E) On-site energy storage;
(h) The process for the creation of the [state] stretch energy code includes:
(1) Within [x] days after the effective date of this [act], the board, in consultation with the [relevant state agency], shall meet with [any codes advisory body or stakeholders] for advice, technical assistance and recommendations for creation of the [state] stretch energy code, including:
(A) Advice for the board on creation of interim performance targets, code requirements and an implementation plan for the [state] stretch energy code;
(B) Recommended amendments to proposed rules issued by the board;
(C) Recommended complementary programs or policies; and
(D) Complete recommendations and development for the [state] stretch energy code elements and requirements by [date]; and
(2) As part of its deliberations, the board shall actively solicit input from [energy efficiency energy code experts][electrification energy code experts][low-income advocates] and other energy code stakeholders and interested parties.
(i) For purposes of the [state] stretch energy code, the board shall allow and encourage, as an alternative compliance mechanism, project certification by a nationally recognized nonprofit certification organization specializing in high-performance passive buildings and offering climate-specific building energy standards that require equal or better energy performance than the [state] stretch energy code.
(j) [The board may create a variance available for use by adopting jurisdictions from the requirements of a stretch energy code for a building if the local jurisdiction determines, in accordance with a cost-effectiveness test developed by the board, that the incremental cost of constructing the building to comply with the requirements would be greater than the social cost of the greenhouse gases that would be reduced by complying with the requirements over the lifetime of the building. The cost-effectiveness test developed by the board under this subsection shall:
(1) For the purpose of calculating the social cost of greenhouse gases, use either the rate adopted by the [relevant state agency] or the rate adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, whichever is greater; and
(2) Account for projected utility cost rates and emissions rates based on the [relevant plan]].
Maryland adopted the Climate Solutions Now Act in early 2022.43 Several parts of the act pertain to electrification and updates to the building codes. Option 5 reflects a section of the act that directs the building codes administration to develop recommendations for the transition to all-electric buildings. Although this option does not require any additional electrification components in codes, the administration’s analysis and recommendations may reassure stakeholders about the feasibility of electrification and may enable states to adopt options similar to Option 4 or Option 6 in the future.
Option 5 Provision: Agency Recommendations for All-Electric Building Requirements
(a) In alignment with the [commission on climate change’s] recommendation to transition to an all-electric building code in the state:
(1) The [general assembly] supports moving toward broader electrification of both existing buildings and new construction as a component of decarbonization; and
(2) It is the intent of the [general assembly] that the state move toward broader electrification of both existing buildings and new construction.
(b) The [agency or department in charge of building codes] shall:
(1) Develop recommendations for an all-electric building code and building energy performance standards for the state, including appropriate exemptions for particular industries, including life sciences, local conditions and sectors deemed critical infrastructure vital to the interest of national security as identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency;
(2) Develop recommendations for the fastest and most cost-efficient methods for decarbonizing buildings and other sectors in the state;
(3) Assess the availability of technology and equipment that will be needed to construct all-electric buildings in the state;
(4) Assess the impact of building electrification on workforce shortages;
(5) Develop recommendations regarding efficient cost-effectiveness measures for the electrification of new and existing buildings;
(6) On or before [date], report to the [public service commission] on the projected annual and peak summer and winter gas and electric loading impacts of electrification, categorized by building type and size, taking into account the impact of inclusion or exclusion of grid-connected controls on major building systems, in sufficient detail for gas and electric public service companies to develop electrification plans; and
(7) Consider recommendations for the inclusion of renewable, low-carbon biofuels, including biodiesel, during the state’s transition to an all-electric building code, including an analysis of the impact on electric and gas rates, market availability and environmental impact.
(c) The [agency or department in charge of building codes] may work with consultants and experts to complete the requirements of this section.
(d) On or before [date], the [agency or department in charge of building codes] shall make an interim report of its findings to the [state legislative committee].
The first text draft of Maryland S.B. 0528,44 the Climate Solutions Now Act, contained the option below, which added electrification provisions to an existing energy code. The final bill, which was signed into law in March 2022,45 did not include the language below. Nevertheless, the option illustrates a means of adding electrification into an existing code. Some states, like Massachusetts, have accomplished this by creating an additional code category, which they term a “voluntary opt-in code.”
The Maryland S.B. 0528 electrification addition features two parts:
- A requirement that new buildings meet water and space heating demand without the use of fossil fuels. The outcome of this requirement is electric-only space and water heating, though not for cooking.
- A requirement for the code to have “electric-ready” standards for solar, EVs and building-grid interaction.
The option below also includes a process to grant variances from the code requirement based on cost considerations.
Option 6 Provision: Electrification Addition to Existing Codes
(a) On or before [date], the [agency or department in charge of building codes] shall adopt, as part of the [state base energy code][state stretch code][an optional opt-in code]:
(1) A requirement that new buildings meet all water and space heating demand without the use of fossil fuels; and
(2) Electric-ready standards to ensure that new buildings are ready for:
(A) The installation of solar energy systems;
(B) The installation of electric vehicle charging equipment; and
(C) Building-grid interaction.
(1) A local jurisdiction may grant a variance from the requirements of this section for a building only if the local jurisdiction determines, in accordance with a cost-effectiveness test developed by the department, that the incremental cost of constructing the building to comply with the requirements would be greater than the social cost of the greenhouse gases that would be reduced over the lifetime of the building by complying with the requirements.
(2) The cost-effectiveness test developed by the department under this subsection shall:
(A) For the purpose of calculating the social cost of greenhouse gases, use either the rate adopted by the [relevant state agency] or the rate adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, whichever is greater; and
(B) Account for projected utility cost rates and emissions rates based on the [relevant plan].
(3) A building that receives a variance in accordance with the cost-effectiveness test developed under this subparagraph shall still be required to comply with electric-ready standards adopted under paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
Cities and municipalities around the United States have taken the lead on adopting all-electric or zero-combustion building requirements. Berkeley, California, passed an ordinance in 2019 banning natural gas connections in new construction.46 Since then, a variety of municipalities have passed all-electric requirements, usually as part of state stretch codes. Massachusetts released a proposal for three state energy code options: a state energy code, an updated stretch code and a specialized opt-in code. The specialized opt-in code would require that buildings either be all-electric or, if fossil fuels are used, include solar photovoltaics and prewiring for future electric end uses.47
Option 7, rather than requiring or allowing electrification provisions in energy codes, acts on the permitting authority of cities, towns and municipalities in a state. It allows construction permits to be granted only for all-electric buildings, with few exceptions.
This option is based on S.B. S6843A in New York.48 As of the date of publication, this bill is still in committee. If the bill passes, New York would be the first state to mandate all-electric buildings.49
Option 7 Provision: All-Electric Buildings Permitting Requirement
(1) “All-electric building or project” shall mean a building or project that uses a permanent supply of electricity as the sole source of energy to meet building energy needs. An all-electric building or project shall have no natural gas, propane or oil heaters, boilers, piping systems, fixtures or infrastructure installed to meet building energy needs.
(2) “Building energy needs” shall mean all space conditioning including heating and cooling, water heating including pools and spas, cooking appliances and clothes-drying appliances.
(3) “All-electric ready” shall mean a building, project or portion thereof that contains electrical systems and designs that provide sufficient capacity for a future retrofit of a mixed-fuel building to an all-electric building, including sufficient space, drainage, electrical conductors or raceways, bus bar capacity and overcurrent protective devices for such a retrofit. The [department of state] shall promulgate guidelines for an electric-ready building on or before [date].
(4) “Mixed-fuel building” shall mean a building that uses a combination of electricity and natural gas, propane or oil to meet building energy needs. For the purposes of this section, “mixed-fuel building” shall not include buildings that use geothermal or solar energy to meet heating or cooling building energy needs but are otherwise all-electric buildings.
(5) “Mixed-use building” shall mean a building used for both residential and commercial purposes.
(b) No city, town or village shall issue a permit for the construction of any new commercial, residential or mixed-use building that is not an all-electric building if the initial application for such permit was submitted after [date], unless the circumstances set forth in subsection (c) of this section apply. For purposes of this section, the initial application shall be the first site or building permit application associated with the building or project.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, a city, town or village may issue a permit for construction of a new mixed-fuel building upon a finding by the permitting body of such city, town or village that constructing an all-electric building or project is physically or technically infeasible and that a modification is warranted. Financial considerations shall not be a sufficient basis to determine physical or technical infeasibility. Modifications shall only be issued under this exception where the permitting body finds that:
(1) Sufficient evidence was submitted to substantiate the infeasibility of an all-electric building or project design. Such evidence must show that:
(A) The building cannot satisfy necessary building code requirements without the usage of gas or oil piping systems, fixtures and/or infrastructure;
(B) The building, if it is specifically designated for occupancy by a commercial food service establishment, cannot feasibly operate using commercially available all-electric appliances;
(C) The installation of natural gas or oil piping systems, fixtures and/or infrastructure is strictly limited to the system and area of the building for which all-electric building or project design is infeasible; or
(D) The area or service within the project where gas or oil piping systems, fixtures and/or infrastructure are installed is all-electric ready; and the project’s modified design provides equivalent health, safety and fire-protection to all-electric building or project design.
(d) No local permitting body shall issue building or construction permits that would convert an all-electric building or project into a mixed-fuel building where the initial application was submitted after [date].
(e) On or before [date], the [public utility commission], the [department of housing and any other associated agencies], the [department of state] and the [department of energy and/or state energy office] shall report jointly to the governor, the temporary president of the Senate, the minority leader of the Senate, the speaker of the assembly and the minority leader of the assembly regarding what changes to electric rate designs, new or existing subsidy programs, policies or laws are necessary to ensure this section does not diminish the production of affordable housing or the affordability of electricity for customers in all-electric buildings. For the purpose of this subdivision, “affordability of electricity” shall mean that electricity does not cost more than [6%] of a residential customer’s income.
(f) This act shall take effect immediately.
Building Performance Standards to Improve Existing Stock
As noted earlier, energy codes apply to new buildings and to renovations requiring a permit but do not require the improvement of existing buildings absent a construction event. Thus older buildings, which can last many decades, may not be required to improve their health and energy standards absent new policy action. Building performance standards are a new and useful tool mainly focused on improving performance in existing buildings. Performance standards utilize benchmarking to establish a baseline for regulated buildings, which is used to track progress toward established goals. As with all policies, clarity and transparency on the individual elements of a BPS will lead to greater success and public benefit. Currently three states — Washington, Colorado and Maryland — have adopted building performance standards, while numerous cities across the country have adopted them. In January 2022, the Biden administration announced the launch of the National Building Performance Standards coalition, a nationwide group of 33 state and local governments, supported by technical partners in the nongovernmental organization community, with a stated goal of advancing legislation or regulation around building performance standards within their jurisdictions by Earth Day 2024.50
Performance standards include key variables that policymakers should consider when deciding on policy design. Figure 1 lists six essential steps in designing a building performance standard51 and some of the options policymakers can choose.
Figure 1. Key decisions in design of building performance standards
Source: List adapted from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2021). Section 2: Building Performance Standards: Overview for State and Local Decision Makers. Benchmarking and Building Performance Standards Policy Toolkit
This section describes the important decision points in designing a BPS and provides legislative examples for the decision point from various locations around the globe. Since a BPS is a relatively new policy tool, international examples are provided to expand options that have not yet been used or finalized in the United States. This is not a comprehensive list of variations or of jurisdictions that have adopted policy on these specific decision points but is meant to provide tangible examples of how such elements have been implemented.
Establishment of a building performance standard
As of the date of publication, three states have established a statewide BPS: Washington, Colorado and Maryland. Washington and Maryland both directed state agencies to create the BPS according to specific legislative direction. Colorado legislation, by contrast, directed a state agency to create a “convening task force,” based on certain legislatively directed membership requirements, to develop recommendations that would guide agency rule promulgation. Regardless of the approach used, decision-makers may want to consider how to integrate stakeholder feedback to successfully establish a BPS.
Decision Point: Determine and Define Goals
BPS goals in the United States have largely focused on reducing carbon emissions or energy use. Climate goals in states are increasing interest in performance standards to decrease emissions for existing buildings. An inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in a state will help focus carbon reduction efforts and help determine which types of buildings within a state have the largest emissions. Many state and local governments have established specific goals for decreasing energy use or greenhouse gas emissions in buildings. These goals may apply to state buildings, commercial buildings, large multifamily residential properties or some combination. Aligning a BPS with state decarbonization goals will help ensure that the policy objectives for buildings will help meet a state’s climate goals.52
Laws in Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland), France, the Flanders region of Belgium and New Zealand focus on improving housing standards, energy affordability and health and well-being, so their regulations are directed at housing, in particular private rental housing.53 A focus on improving health standards in existing buildings is also starting in the United States. In Oregon, the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is working with the Build/Shift Collective to create minimum requirements for existing rental apartments in Portland. These requirements are called the HEART standards and include:54
- Healthy housing (e.g., require natural gas stove ventilation to improve indoor air quality).
- Equitable energy (e.g., limit carbon emissions for apartments, condos and commercial buildings by improving energy efficiency or increasing renewable energy supply; reduce energy cost burden for low-income tenants).
- Antidisplacement (e.g., prevent risk of displacement when improvements are made).
- Resilience (e.g., make buildings and communities resilient to power outages).
- Temperature (e.g., set maximum indoor temperature for heat wave resilience).
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Build/Shift will be working with stakeholders to help develop standards in early 2023.
Benchmarking and building performance standards
Energy benchmarking — the process of measuring a building’s energy use over time — allows building owners and occupants to understand their buildings’ operational performance relative to similar buildings.55 Benchmarking policies are common precursors to, or components of, BPS policies and can provide valuable energy baselines for buildings, as well as measurement of ongoing progress.
While the majority of BPS policies today use benchmarking, they are not always part of a BPS. Boulder, Colorado, does not use benchmarking in its BPS; instead, the standard is based on the building code.56 British Columbia and the city of Vancouver are also considering a standard that uses building code authority without benchmarking.57
(a) The general assembly finds, determines and declares that the regulation of building performance is a matter of statewide concern because:
(1) As of [year], buildings represented a significant source of greenhouse gas pollution in [state];
(2) Energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with a building produce impacts far beyond its walls and the boundaries of the local government within which the building is located, including costs to utility ratepayers for increased energy production, community health costs associated with air pollution and broader societal costs of anthropogenic climate change;
(3) Many building owners have made proactive efforts to reduce the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of their buildings, yet more remains to be done to help the state meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals;
(4) Building tenants that pay energy bills often lack the ability to implement building upgrades that could improve performance, reduce emissions and reduce those costs;
(5) The [public utilities commission] has both the statutory authority and obligation to require a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the state in every sector including buildings; and
(6) Benchmarking and building performance standards will support job growth in [state].
(a) The [relevant state agency] shall promulgate regulations that provide for healthy homes.
(b) The healthy homes standards may include any of the following:
(1) Standards about the indoor temperatures that must be capable of being achieved in the premises;
(2) Standards about levels of moisture or humidity that must be capable of being achieved in the premises; and
(3) Standards imposing requirements in relation to any of the following:
(D) Moisture ingress;
(E) Draft stopping; and
(c) The requirements that may be imposed by standards under subsection (b) include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Requirements that appliances or building upgrades be installed or provided at the premises;
(2) Requirements about the inspection, maintenance or replacement of appliances and home systems that are installed or provided at the premises; and
(3) Requirements about the quantities, locations, condition, types or technical specifications of appliances and home systems that are installed or provided at the premises including requirements about methods of installation.
(d) Regulations under subsection (c) may:
(1) Specify methods for determining whether standards have been complied with;
(2) Include exceptions to standards;.
(3) Require information relating to the healthy homes standards be included in a landlord’s contract or agreement with tenants; and
(4) Prescribe the records or other documents that must be retained by a landlord.
Decision Point: Define Scope of Covered Buildings
In establishing a BPS, it is necessary to determine the types of building to be covered by the program. State and local legislation thus far has focused on commercial, large multifamily and rental buildings, and coverage is typically based on building size.
The goals of the jurisdiction will help determine what building types and sizes are covered. Some building performance standards start with government and public buildings to lead by example. Many standards focus first on large commercial buildings, as large businesses may have a greater ability to implement energy efficiency, electrification, renewable energy and on-site storage to decrease building energy use and emissions. Large buildings are also often the biggest energy users and therefore emitters of carbon, so focusing on these buildings yields large energy and carbon reductions early, with a much smaller number of buildings.62 If a jurisdiction has industry or workforce capacity concerns, focusing on a smaller number of buildings allows for workforce capacity development before expanding to a larger number of buildings.
Several jurisdictions also focus first on single and multifamily rental properties, recognizing that rental building stock has what is known as a split incentive problem: When renters pay energy bills, rental owners have little incentive to make investments that would result in decreased energy usage at the property. Low-income households more often live in rented buildings, so focusing minimum building standards on these buildings provides critical safeguards for this population and may support jurisdictional equity goals.
Some critical considerations are important to include in BPS design, particularly when focusing on low-income housing. Currently, 35% of U.S. households are renters.63 Increasing housing costs and increasing energy costs are economic stressors for many Americans. In 2020, 46% of renters suffered from housing cost burdens wherein housing expenses are more than 30% of household income.64 Low-income households (61% of which rent65) also experience 350% higher energy cost burdens than other households.66 When designing a BPS for rental properties, particularly in low-income communities, policy design steps to involve community members and ensure housing costs don’t increase after retrofits, are critically important.
The Institute for Market Transformation and Elevate provide guidance for BPS policy design for housing affordability,67 including recommendations to:
- Create an inclusive policy engagement process that centers front-line communitiesfront-line communities Communities experiencing “first and worst” the consequences of climate change. They are communities of color and low income, whose neighborhoods often lack basic infrastructure; Native American communities, whose resources have been exploited; and laborers who work or live in polluted or toxic environments. (Ecotrust) 68 and local organizations based in communities most at risk for displacement.
- Incorporate a diversity of voices from the affordable housing, tenant rights, environmental justice and front-line communities into oversight boards for the BPS policy.
- Design the BPS to encourage cost-saving energy efficiency measures.
- Build flexibility within the BPS policy for regulated and subsidized affordable housing so that owners can work to meet building performance requirements on timelines aligned with their capital refinancing cycles.
- Establish caps on cost pass-throughs from building upgrades undertaken in meeting performance requirements such that any rent increase cannot be greater than the energy cost savings resulting from the building performance upgrades.
- Create a turnkey retrofit financing program that functions as a compliance pathway, prioritizing subsidized and naturally occurring affordable housing for participation.
- Deploy help desks, building concierge services, technical assistance programs and financial assistance programs with affordability covenants where possible that target helping subsidized and naturally occurring affordable housing to meet BPS requirements.
(a) On or before [date], and on or before [month, day] of each subsequent year, the owner of a covered building shall submit a report of the benchmarking data for the previous calendar year to the office. A covered building means a building comprising a gross floor area of [50,000][x] square feet or more that is occupied by a single occupant or group of tenants.[The [relevant state agency] may expand this definition to smaller buildings as the agency deems appropriate.]
(b) The following owners may comply with this section collectively at the campuswide level:
(1) The owner of multiple covered buildings that are part of a master metered group of buildings without submetering;
(2) The owner of a correctional facility; and
(3) The owner of a public building that is a covered building.
(a) This section shall apply to:
(1) Beginning [date] all privately owned buildings with at least 50,000 square feet of gross floor area and all state-owned buildings with at least 10,000 square feet of gross floor area;
(2) Beginning [date] all privately owned buildings with at least 25,000 square feet of gross floor area; and
(3) Beginning [date] all privately owned buildings with at least 10,000 square feet of gross floor area.
(1) The [state energy agency or office] shall adopt regulations mandating minimum energy efficiency, energy performance or related energy standards for rental properties where the tenants pay for electric or gas utility service or deliverable heating fuels, including but not limited to:
(A) Specifying the minimum required energy standards for windows and for wall and attic insulation, such as minimum R-value standards;
(B) Ensuring that windows and doors are weathertight;
(C) Specifying the minimum required energy [and electrification] standards for heating and hot water systems;
(D) Ensuring that energy losses are reduced through energy efficiency measures, including, but not limited to, air sealing of windowsills and ducts, [replacement of appliances]; and
(E) Such other energy standards as the [relevant state agency] deems appropriate to increase tenant comfort, health and safety and to increase energy efficiency. The [relevant state agency] may vary these energy standards by building size, age, type of construction and other characteristics, as it deems appropriate. These regulations shall apply and be enforceable as soon as is feasible. To the extent that a rental property owner accesses all available subsidies and financial incentives available [in state], the owner shall not be required to expend more than [$5,000] per year to comply with these energy standards and shall be excused from further compliance during that year if the [$5,000] expenditure cap is reached.
Decision Point: Choose a Performance Metric and Set Targets
Selecting one or more metrics for a BPS is among the most critical elements of the policy. It is important to be able to objectively measure progress toward established goals, and metrics are useful in illustrating and tracking trends and making improvements. The choice of metrics will depend on geography and the needs of the local jurisdiction and jurisdictional goals. Many building performance standards in the United States focus on reducing carbon emissions, and the metrics focus on either energy use intensity or carbon emissions.
Metrics should reflect actual conditions as closely as possible. Metrics that require modeling are not recommended, as they will not be true to actual performance and will not establish an accurate method of measuring progress. All metrics in use today are based on actual performance, though some, primarily in the case of greenhouse gases, use an equation to translate energy to carbon.
Common metrics currently used in the United States include those described in Table 1.72
Table 1. Examples of state and local building performance metrics
Jurisdiction and description
Washington, D.C., is using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 1-100 Energy Star score as its primary metric, asking all buildings to achieve a threshold score. The district also includes the use of source energy use intensity (EUI) for buildings that cannot get an Energy Star score and site EUI as the metric for measuring improvements under the performance compliance pathway.
Section 301(b)(1)(C)(ii) For buildings that are eligible for an ENERGY STAR score, the building energy performance standard shall be no lower than the District median ENERGY STAR score for buildings of each property type.
Section 301(d)(1) A performance pathway, which shall require a building to demonstrate a greater than 20% decrease in normalized site energy use intensity averaged over the last 2 years of the 5-year compliance cycle, as compared to the normalized site energy use intensity averaged over the 2 years preceding the first year of the 5-year compliance cycle; and;
(2) A prescriptive pathway for buildings to achieve compliance by implementing cost-effective energy efficiency measures with savings comparable to the performance pathway; and
(3) Other compliance pathways established by DOEE.73
Washington state is using site EUI as its metric, with requirements that all buildings achieve certain site EUI performance levels.
Section 3(1)(b) In developing energy performance standards, the department shall seek to maximize reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector. The standard must include energy use intensity targets by building type and methods of conditional compliance that include an energy management plan, operations and maintenance program, energy efficiency audits, and investment in energy efficiency measures designed to meet the targets. The department shall use ANSI/ASHRAE/IES standard 100-2018 as an initial model for standard development. 74
New York City is using total greenhouse gas emissions as its metric, with all buildings receiving an emissions limit based on an emissions rate per square foot multiplied by the building’s square footage.
§ 28-320.3 Building emissions limits. Except as otherwise provided in this article, or otherwise provided by rule, on and after January 1, 2024 a covered building shall not have annual building emissions higher than the annual building emissions limit for such building as determined in accordance with this section based on the occupancy group of the building.
§ 28-320.3.1 Annual building emissions limits 2024-2029. For calendar years 2024 through 2029 the annual building emissions limits for covered buildings shall be calculated pursuant to items 1 through 10 of this section. For the purposes of such calculation the department shall provide a method for converting categories of uses under the United States environmental protection agency Portfolio Manager tool to the equivalent uses and occupancy groups set forth in this section. For a covered building with spaces classified in more than one occupancy group, the annual building emissions limit shall be the sum of the calculated values from items 1 through 10 of this paragraph, as applicable for each space.75
St. Louis, Missouri, is using site EUI as its metric both to identify buildings that need to comply and to measure improvement.
Section 4. Standards and Compliance. A … The chief performance metric will be site energy use intensity (EUI). Standards will be set no lower than the 65th percentile by property type such that at least 65% of the buildings of that property type have a higher EUI. 76
Maryland is using site EUI and direct emissions as metrics to identify buildings that need to be more efficient and to electrify.
(Maryland is still in rule-making. The text here is the authors’ interpretation of the legislative language.)
Section 2-1602(B). To facilitate the development of building energy performance standards under this section, the department shall require the owners of covered buildings to measure and report direct emissions data to the Department annually beginning in 2025.
Section 2-1602(C)(2)(1) Regulations adopted under this section shall … subject to [enumerated exceptions] include energy use intensity targets by building type.77
Metrics to improve indoor air quality
Although most metrics in the United States focus on greenhouse gases and emissions, other metrics may be added in the future. One area of focus could be indoor air quality. The following metric is based on a model ordinance from the Institute for Market Transformation78 and may be added to other metrics as well.
Indoor Air Quality Metrics
(a) No later than [date] the [relevant state agency] shall promulgate indoor air quality (IAQ) requirements for covered buildings, including IAQ testing and sampling protocols. The IAQ requirements shall provide multiple compliance pathways, including:
(1) Demonstration that the carbon dioxide concentration is below 1,000 parts per million in the covered property;
(2) Demonstration that the covered property holds a current certification from one of the following: LEED Existing Buildings,79 WELL certification, 80 Fitwel building certification81 or RESET Air82; and
(3) Any other compliance pathway provided by the [relevant state agency].
(b) Until [date] the compliance pathways shall also include demonstration that the covered property was designed to meet ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2004 or a newer version of ASHRAE standard 62.1.
(c) As of [date] and at the end of every [five]-year period thereafter, each covered property shall demonstrate that it has complied with IAQ requirements.
The metrics used may track progress toward multiple goals, as shown in Table 2.83
Table 2. Examples of building modernization goals and related metrics
Increase energy efficiency
• Site energy use intensity (EUI) and variations
• Source EUI and variations
• Energy Star score
• Site EUI and variations
• Percent of total energy use that is from electricity
• On-site greenhouse gas emissions
Increase use of renewable energy
• On-site power generation
• Total renewable energy (on- or off-site)
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
• Source EUI
• Total greenhouse gas emissions
• On-site greenhouse gas emissions
• Time-of-use emissions
• Grid peak contributions
• On-site power utilization
• Site EUI and variations
• Demand flexibility
• Dispatchable flexibility
Increase health of building occupants
• Indoor air quality metrics
• Insulation levels
• Insulation level and energy efficiency (U-factor) for windows
• Energy performance
• Energy cost
In Europe, in addition to reducing building carbon emissions, the minimum energy performance of a building is often the focus. In the UK, the Housing Health and Safety Rating Standard is a risk-based system keyed to assessing threats to human health. It grew out of a government assessment that certain homes posed a risk to human life. Consequently, the standard requires that a “dwelling should be able to supply the basic needs for the everyday life … and should not contain any deficiency that might give rise to a hazard which interferes with or puts at risk the health or safety, or even the lives, of the occupants.”85
The Belgian region of Flanders focuses on specific building measures — not standards — requiring, for example, a minimum level of attic insulation in homes and efficient windows.86
Australia and New Zealand standards also focus on minimum energy performance of buildings, with key attention to the health and well-being of building residents. For example, the New Zealand Healthy Homes Guarantee Act of 2017 requires landlords of rental buildings to meet national standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, draft-proofing, drainage and moisture.87
Important considerations in adopting building data and metrics requirements include whether the data and metrics are:88
- Simple to understand and implement and take into consideration the difficulty of determining compliance, administrative burden, fitness to the goal, workforce or technology adequacy for at-scale quality control and measurement activities, accuracy and verifiability.
- Within reasonable control of the building owner.
- Able to meet one or several goals of the jurisdiction.
- Available for all building types.
- Able to be standardized across building types.
- Based upon high-quality available data, whether actual data or estimated.
- Set up to consider equity and justice implications at each step.
After selecting one or more metrics, the adopting jurisdiction must establish the goal for an individual building, commonly referred to as a target. Targets are important to provide a concrete goal for building performance programs and building owners to meet. Interim targets can help break down a goal into more easily attainable goals for building owners.
Several factors should be considered when setting targets.
- Stakeholder perspective: Diverse stakeholder input will be important to setting a target that is achievable within a specific state. Stakeholder input is also critically important in how the target is met.
- Type of covered buildings: Targets will also vary depending on the type of covered building. Public, commercial and multifamily buildings and rentals are all commonly covered by a BPS but will have different targets, particularly depending on the goal of the jurisdiction. Typical energy use patterns of the covered buildings should be used to engage stakeholders and to analyze different potential performance targets.89
- Time frame: Many U.S. jurisdictions have adopted greenhouse gas targets in the 2030 to 2050 time frame. This time frame and the jurisdictional targets will be factored into any discussion of a BPS.
- Other jurisdictional goals: While most U.S. BPS targets focus on greenhouse gas emissions reductions, other jurisdictional goals may impact the target selection. For example, the Washington HEART standards currently in development will focus on the health and safety of rental buildings and include healthy housing and resilience goals.
The enabling legislation or regulation doesn’t usually set the targets but may set the charging language to guide establishment of the targets. Table 3 provides summaries and excerpts of charging language from states and cities.
Table 3. Examples of state and local guidance on setting building performance targets
The performance standards would need to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 7% by 2026 compared to 2021 levels as reported in energy benchmarking data and by 20% by 2030 compared to 2021 levels. 90
The state of Maryland set a target of 20% reduction in net direct greenhouse gas emissions91 by 2030 for existing buildings over 35,000 square feet. The 20% reduction is compared with 2025 levels for average buildings of similar construction. Buildings in the state must have net zero direct emissions by 2040.92
Boston chose to set targets by building type on an emissions intensity basis. Each building’s target is multiplied by its gross floor area (using a blended average for multiuse buildings). Buildings must meet their targets annually starting in 2025, and these targets are ratcheted down every five years. Buildings can also opt into a “glide path” target, achieving 50% emissions reduction by 2030 and 100% by 2050 using a 2005 or later baseline.93
New York City
“(1) Reduction of emissions citywide. There shall be, at minimum, a [thirty] 40 percent reduction in citywide emissions by calendar year 2030, and an [eighty] 80 percent reduction in citywide emissions by calendar year 2050, relative to such emissions for the base year for citywide emissions. …
“b. (1) Reduction of emissions from city government operations. There shall be, at minimum, a [thirty] 40 percent reduction in city government emissions by [calendar] fiscal year  2025, and a 50 percent reduction in city government emissions by calendar year 2030, relative to such emissions for the base year for city government emissions. …
“(3) Reduction of emissions by the New York city housing authority. The New York city housing authority shall make efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by the year 2030 and 80 percent by the year 2050, relative to such emissions for calendar year 2005, for the portfolio of buildings owned or operated by the New York city housing authority. If the office determines that such emissions reduction is not feasible despite the best efforts of city government operations, such office shall report such findings and make recommendations with respect to policies, programs and actions that may be undertaken to achieve such reductions.”94
“Sec. 301. (b)(1)(C)(i) In developing energy performance standards, DOEE shall seek to help the District achieve its short- and long-term climate commitments, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2032 and carbon neutrality by 2050.”95
It’s important to note that the example language here considers the building sector or the covered building sector as a whole, and the development of building-by-building targets may not uniformly match the percentage reductions of the entire sector. For example, Washington, D.C., is targeting 50% greenhouse gas emissions, but its Energy Star targets are not intentionally calibrated to ensure each building meets its own 50% reduction. Individual building targets should be set with combined sectorwide targets and technical feasibility in mind.
Decision Point: Establish Compliance Cycles
Jurisdictions have adopted different trigger points for compliance. Most jurisdictions in the United States with a BPS have set a hard date for compliance (i.e., by a certain date). Many of the U.S. performance standards in place will start enforcement between 2024 and 2026. States could also set incremental deadlines within that time frame. Interim targets and deadlines help set a gradual compliance trend line to guide building owners. A few examples of compliance cycles and timelines from various BPS programs in the United States include the following:96
- Colorado: Compliance cycle every four years, beginning in 2026 and continuing until 2050.
- Maryland: Compliance targets must be met in 2030 and 2040.
- Boston: Annual compliance cycle for buildings 35,000 square feet and greater starting in 2025; annual compliance cycle for buildings between 20,000 and 34,999 square feet starting in 2030. Emissions targets for obligated buildings will ratchet down every five years after compliance starts, until they obtain zero carbon in 2050.
- Denver: Covered buildings must meet interim performance targets in 2024 and 2027 before meeting a final performance standard in 2030.
Other approaches that have been used globally, but not frequently in the United States, include compliance based on different points in the life cycle of a building, such as major renovation, certain inspections required by a jurisdiction, sale of the building or change in rental contract.97 This decision will impact how fast the standard is met. For instance, requirements only on the sale of a building will happen more slowly in many jurisdictions. Meeting requirements by a certain date will happen sooner. In the United States, requirements upon sale of a building have been opposed by the real estate sales and brokerage industry. BPS policies that initially used either time of sale or lease as a compliance point — including Berkeley, California, Boulder, Colorado, and Ann Arbor, Michigan — are being revised to include a date-certain compliance point instead.98
In Scotland, trigger points for compliance include elements of repair, maintenance and improvement, which allowed for practical opportunities for inclusion of energy improvements alongside other repairs.99 One example below illustrates compliance requirements upon the sale or lease of a covered building. Performance standards in England, Wales and France are similar but also apply any time a rental contract is updated. This change ensures compliance is triggered even for buildings with long-term tenants.100
Foresight is an important element in compliance cycles. The certainty provided by setting targets many years in the future allows building owners to plan for efficient, staged renovations. Examples of building performance standards that allow for this trajectory planning include those in Montgomery County, Maryland,101 which sets a final target several cycles in the future with interim targets; Denver, Colorado,102 follows a similar method. Boston sets greenhouse gas emissions targets through 2050.103 This transparency enables planning by covered building owners. For states concerned about climate change, setting compliance cycles in advance to meet certain greenhouse gas targets will help buildings in the state to meet these targets sooner.
(a) A landlord may not rent a property or part of a property after [date] that does not meet the standard articulated by the [relevant state agency]. A property is “substandard” where the energy performance indicator of the property included in the [valid energy performance certificate/standard] for the property indicates that the energy efficiency or performance of the property is rated as being below the minimum level.
(a) At the time of listing a covered building or a portion of a covered building for sale or lease [or upon change in contract], the owner of the covered building shall furnish an electronic copy of reported benchmarking data from the previous calendar year or from the most recent 12-month period of continuous occupancy to the following:
(1) Prospective buyers or lessees;
(2) Any brokers who make inquiry about the property; and
(3) Major commercial real estate listing services on which the property is listed.
(b) Upon receipt of the benchmarking data, a commercial real estate listing service that lists properties in the state shall include in the property’s listing, at a minimum, the property’s Energy Star score, if applicable, and the property’s energy use intensity.
(c) If a covered building changes ownership, the former owner shall make available to the new owner the energy use data; utility customer consent documentation, if any; and any other information about the property that is necessary to benchmark the covered building. The former owner shall transfer to the new owner both the record representing the covered building within the benchmarking tool and the request to a qualified utility for aggregated data. The new owner may request and receive from a qualifying utility the aggregated data necessary to fulfill benchmarking reporting requirements.
(a) “Major renovation” means the renovation of a building where:
(1) The total cost of the renovation relating to the building envelope or the technical building systems is higher than 25% of the value of the building, excluding the value of the land upon which the building is situated; or
(2) More than 25% of the surface of the building envelope undergoes renovation.
Decision Point: Set Compliance Paths and Penalties
Many building performance standards allow multiple compliance pathways for obligated buildings. Some, such as Boston’s BPS, allow different methods to meet an overall emissions compliance obligation. For example, obligated buildings may meet emissions objectives through any combination of energy efficiency, electrification and on-site renewables. Renewable energy credits are also allowed, within specific parameters.107 Other jurisdictions allow specific compliance methods for certain buildings. Colorado requires multifamily buildings with separately metered tenants that do not achieve the target to perform a minimum number of prescriptive energy conservation measures.108 The Montgomery County, Maryland, BPS allows owners who believe they will be unable to meet the standards by the deadline or will be exceptionally burdened by doing so to propose an alternative compliance plan for consideration by the Building Energy Improvement Board.109 The state of Maryland directs the relevant state agency to enact regulations that essentially require a penalty payment in lieu of compliance.
(a) The [relevant state agency] shall establish multiple compliance pathways for buildings to meet the building energy performance requirements, including:
(1) A performance pathway, which shall require a building to demonstrate a greater than 20% decrease in normalized site energy use intensity averaged over the last two years of the five-year compliance cycle, as compared to the normalized site energy use intensity averaged over the two years preceding the first year of the five-year compliance cycle;
(2) A prescriptive pathway for buildings to achieve compliance by implementing cost-effective energy efficiency measures with savings comparable to the performance pathway; and
(3) Other compliance pathways established by the [relevant state agency].
(a) The [relevant state agency] shall adopt regulations that shall:
(1) Include an alternative compliance pathway allowing the owner of a covered building to pay a fee for greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the building’s failure to meet direct greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
(A) The [relevant state agency] may not set an alternative compliance fee that is less than the social cost of greenhouse gases adopted by the [relevant state agency] or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
(B) [Other requirements].
(a) If building owners believe that due to unusual circumstances they will be unable to meet the building energy performance standards established by the [relevant state agency] by the deadline or are exceptionally burdened by doing so, then they may propose and present an alternative compliance plan for consideration to the [relevant task force][relevant state agency] for approval.
Enforcement and Penalties
Enforcement of performance standards — including any penalties assessed for noncompliance — varies greatly by state. Given the wide variety, no examples are included here. However, important considerations in designing enforcement and penalties include the following:
- Create an easy process: Processes that are easy to enforce and implement mean that the performance standards created are likely to be adopted. If an enforcement process gets bogged down in administrative delays, the BPS will not have the optimal effect intended.
- Set penalties higher than the cost of compliance: Compliance with performance standards requires building upgrades that are calculated to provide economic, health and public benefits. If the penalty is less than the cost of compliance, some covered entities may choose to pay the penalty rather than comply, thus deferring the benefits the policy is meant to achieve.
Decision Point: Create a Supportive Framework
The sections above show the main elements of a BPS; many important supportive policies are equally important to the success of a performance standard. Key components of a supportive framework include financial support and incentives. See Funding and Finance in this toolkit for more options that can support a BPS.
Other elements of a supportive framework include task forces, utility data requirements, and customer outreach, information and support.
Both Maryland and Colorado, as well as many cities, use task forces to either create a performance standard (as in Colorado) or assist with implementation. Some city BPS ordinances have created a board or task force that makes ongoing decisions about the interpretation and application of the standard.
Task forces enable diverse stakeholders to contribute to the BPS and can be instrumental in avoiding unintended consequences of a standard. A task force is a critical opportunity to incorporate a diversity of voices, including those from affordable housing and tenant rights groups and overburdened communitiesoverburdened communities “Minority, low-income, tribal, or indigenous populations or geographic locations in the United States that potentially experience disproportionate environmental harms and risks. This disproportionality can be as a result of greater vulnerability to environmental hazards, lack of opportunity for public participation, or other factors” (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). Largely synonymous terms include “marginalized,” “front-line,” “underserved” and “environmental justice” communities..113 According to a survey of stakeholders involved in BPS policies, cities like Denver, Colorado, and Washington, D.C., have found the establishment of a diverse BPS task force to be critical to equitable implementation.114
credit: Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels
Recommendations developed with a racial equity lens
The Energize Denver Task Force was charged with implementing a building performance policy that includes energy efficiency improvements and strategic electrification of all existing buildings and homes so they achieve net zero energy by 2040. The program is explicitly required to improve health and equity outcomes, create jobs and drive climate solutions in buildings in addition to meeting the energy efficiency and electrification goals. By establishing dual climate and equity requirements, task forces will not be able to ignore the impacts of one on the other as they develop recommendations.
The task force used a racial equity lens on its recommendations to promote equity. Questions in this lens included:
- Does our process ensure that the voice of people of color is present, that the process is accessible?
- Are we ensuring the outcomes prioritize, provide benefits to and improve the lives of people of color?
- How will this proposed policy or decision be perceived by people of color?
- Does this policy or decision ignore or worsen existing disparities or produce unintended consequences?
- What are the barriers to more equitable outcomes? (e.g., mandated, political, emotional, financial, programmatic or managerial).
The task force then asked: Based on the above responses, what revisions are needed in the decision under discussion? Are there other things to take into consideration?115
It is also important to consciously include diverse viewpoints on a task force so that policy is fully vetted, takes into account critical views, and fully reflects the spectrum of public perspective. Without such attention to diverse participation, task forces may seem to reflect public opinion but will not be adequately representing all viewpoints.
Depending on the role of the task force, the enabling language will vary. Options below provide examples of different task force roles. The composition of the task force is similar across jurisdictions, so first we offer a list of common task force members.
(a) The task force consists of the following members:
(1) [Secretary of energy] or designee;
(2) [Secretary of housing and community development];
(3) Chair of the [public utility commission];
(4) [Director of the state energy office];
(5) [Any other agency heads or legislative representatives desired];
(6) One representative from a nonprofit or professional organization that advocates for energy-efficient buildings or a low-carbon built environment;
(7) One representative from a business that provides energy efficiency or renewable energy services to affordable housing in [state];
(8) One representative who is an architect with experience planning modifications to existing buildings to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions;
(9) One representative who is a mechanical, electrical or plumbing engineer or commissioning agent with experience in modifying or replacing systems to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions;
(10) One representative of the apartment and office building association or the multifamily housing industry;
(11) One representative who is an affordable housing developer;
(12) One representative who is a facilities or property manager for an apartment building;
(13) One representative who is a facilities or property manager for a commercial building;
(14) One representative of a financial institution;
(15) One representative of a private equity firm;
(16) One representative of the district energy industry;
(17) One representative from a rent-controlled apartment building;
(18) One representative from a market-rate apartment building;
(19) One representative of a green bankgreen bank A financial institution that can leverage public funding to attract private capital for clean energy projects (including energy efficiency, renewable energy and other distributed energy resources) and other “green” investments. or building finance authority in the state;
(20) One provider of energy efficiency or renewable energy services to large buildings or affordable housing in [state];
(21) One representative of a statewide commercial or industrial building association;
(22) One representative of organized labor who represents the building trades;
(23) One representative who is a tenant of an apartment building or an advocate for the rights of tenants of apartment buildings;
(24) One representative of a front-line community;
(25) One representative of an environmental justice organization;
(26) One representative of a local government that has adopted a benchmarking ordinance;
(27) One representative of a local government that has not adopted benchmarking; and
(28) The following members, selected by the [public utility commission]:
(A) One representative of a municipal electric utility; and
(B) One representative of an investor-owned utility.
This option is based on Colorado H.B. 21-1286,116 which was signed into law in June 2021. The Colorado legislation required the director of the Colorado Energy Office to appoint a task force based on legislative requirements to develop recommendations for the Air Quality Control Commission to consider when promulgating the rules for the state’s building performance standards. The purpose of the task force was to make recommendations for creation of the BPS and is not an ongoing task force.117 The Colorado BPS is focused on commercial, multifamily and public buildings 50,000 square feet and larger, so the scope of the task force recommendations is focused on these types of buildings.
The Colorado legislation also provided for implementation without requiring the task force recommendations to go back to the Legislature for further authorization. Consequently, much of the language in this option provides for a mechanism whereby the task force recommendations can authorize rule-making at the public utility commission.
Option 1 Provision: Convening Task Force
(a) No later than [date], the [relevant position][relevant state agency] shall appoint and convene a task force to develop and provide recommendations to the [public utility commission], the [legislature] and the governor on performance standards for covered buildings. Any recommendations must be approved by at least two-thirds of the members appointed to the task force.
(b) The task force shall develop recommendations regarding the rules that the commission shall promulgate pursuant to this section, for:
(1) Interim performance standards that would achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of [7%][x%] by [year] as compared to [starting year] levels as reported in benchmarking data;
(2) Performance standards that would achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of [x%] by [future year] as compared to [starting year] levels; and
(3) The process for advising, soliciting public input on and making recommendations to the commission on performance standards for [2030, 2050 or future years].
(c) In developing recommendations, the task force shall:
(1) Solicit feedback from a broad range of industries and building owners; and
(2) Examine building types with unique energy needs including [aviation facilities], [nursing homes] and [hospitals].
(d) In calculating greenhouse gas reductions the calculation must not include savings from statewide decarbonization of electricity or natural gas utility grids but may include savings from utilities’ or local governments’ energy efficiency and demand response programs.
(e) Additionally, the task force may consider making recommendations related to:
(1) Workforce availability and development related to building energy performance and electrification;
(2) Financial and nonfinancial costs and benefits of upgraded building energy performance and electrification;
(3) Availability of programs, technical assistance and incentives to support building owners, utilities and local governments;
(4) Opportunities to improve commercial building energy use in [state]; and
(5) How regulations and agency support could help ensure building owners avoid fines through compliance with performance standards.
(f) In developing its recommendations, the task force may consider:
(1) Benchmarking data reported pursuant to this section;
(2) Benchmarking data from communities that are currently conducting commercial building benchmarking;
(3) Any other publicly available building benchmarking data through which benchmarking is reported to a building benchmarking program in [state];
(4) Any other information that the office determines is available regarding energy use in commercial buildings in [state]; and
(5) Anticipated compliance of new construction based on current new construction codes.
(g) On or before [date], the task force shall deliver to the [relevant state agency or legislature] any final recommendations developed. The [relevant state agency or legislature] shall send copies of the taskforce’s final recommendations to the [public utility commission], the [state legislature and any relevant agencies] and the governor.
(h) Notice of rule-making
(1) If at least two-thirds of the members appointed to the task force agree on recommendations of this section, and the [relevant state agency or legislature] in consultation with the [state energy agency] determines that the recommendations meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements set forth in this section, the [state energy agency] shall, on or before [date], request that the [public utility commission] publish a notice of proposed rule-making to adopt rules to implement performance standards. On or before [date], the [public utility commission], upon careful consideration of the recommendations of the task force as presented by the division, shall promulgate rules to establish performance standards. The [public utility commission] shall also adopt rules regarding waivers and extensions of time regarding the performance standard requirements. The [public utility commission] rules must include a provision that an owner of a public building need only comply with performance standards with regard to work on a construction or renovation project that:
(A) Has an estimated cost of at least [500,000][x] dollars;
(B) Impacts at least [25%][x%] of the covered building’s square footage; and
(C) Excludes upgrades such as painting, flooring or tenant finishes that do not impact energy use.
(2) If two-thirds of the members of the task force cannot agree on recommendations or if the [director of state energy office] in consultation with the [public utility commission] determines that the task force’s recommendations do not meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements set forth in this section, the [public utility commission], on or before [date], shall, by rule, adopt performance standards that meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements set forth in subsection (b) of this section. The [public utility commission] shall also adopt rules regarding waivers and extensions of time regarding the performance standard requirements. The [public utility commission] rules must include a provision that an owner of a public building need only comply with performance standards with regard to work on a construction or renovation project that:
(A) Has an estimated cost of at least [500,000][x] dollars;
(B) Impacts at least [25%][x%] of the covered building’s square footage; and
(C) Excludes upgrades such as painting, flooring or tenant finishes that do not impact energy use.
(3) The [public utility commission] shall not adopt rules to rescind or modify the exemptions for owners of public buildings from payment of the annual fee.
(4) The [public utility commission] shall, as necessary, adopt rules to modify or continue the performance standards until [year] to achieve or exceed greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
(i) Saving clause. This section does not restrict:
(1) The ability of a qualifying utility to provide incentives or other energy efficiency program services for covered buildings;
(2) The ability of an investor-owned utility to take credit, as deemed appropriate by the [public utility commission], for energy or greenhouse gas emissions savings achieved for covered buildings;
(3) The ability of a qualified utility to set an aggregation thresholdaggregation threshold The minimum number of customer accounts for which the utility may provide aggregated data to the building’s owner without requiring each customer’s consent. that is less than four; or
(4) A local government from adopting or implementing an ordinance or resolution that imposes more stringent benchmarking or performance standard requirements.
This option is largely based on Maryland’s Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 legislation.118 The Maryland task force is focused more on implementation issues after a BPS is already developed, including complementary programs, policies and incentives. It is also addressed areas that require more study and detail than can be directed in legislation. Areas of focus include low-income household holistic retrofit targets, the use of on-bill financing for electrification retrofits, and creation of direct subsidy payments. While considering more granular implementation questions, the task force is still contemplated to be one of more limited duration once those legislatively assigned tasks are completed. The Washington, D.C., clean energy omnibus act also created a building energy performance task force with similar directives.119
Option 2 Provision: Implementation Task Force
(a) The task force shall:
(1) Study and make recommendations regarding the development of complementary programs, policies and incentives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector in accordance with this subsection;
(2) Make recommendations on targeting incentives to electrification projects that would not otherwise result in strong returns on investment for building owners;
(3) Develop a plan for funding the retrofit of covered buildings to comply with building emissions standards.
(A) The plan developed under this paragraph may include recommendations related to:
(1) The creation of commercial tax credits or direct subsidy payments for building decarbonization projects;
(2) The creation of financial incentives through [state energy agency] and other state programs to support all aspects of the transition to electrified buildings;
(3) The establishment of low-income household holistic retrofit targets and heat pump sales targets; and
(4) The use of options such as on-bill, low-interest financing to spread out the upfront costs associated with electrification retrofit upgrades; and
(4) Report its plan to the governor and the [general assembly] on or before [date].
Option 3 is based on elements of the St. Louis, Missouri, building improvement board and the New York City advisory board.120 Both boards provide more analysis than an initial implementation board. States desiring board input to state agencies may consider this option. Advisory and oversight boards are particularly useful for BPS policies focused on multifamily and rental buildings. Here, it is critical to integrate a diversity of voices — particularly from affordable housing, tenant rights, environmental justice and front-line communities — into oversight boards on BPS policy.121
Option 3 Provision: Building Energy Improvement Board
(a) The [relevant state agency] shall convene an advisory board upon the effective date of this article, to provide advice and recommendations to the [relevant state agency][governor][relevant legislative branch]. Such recommendations shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) Review and, as necessary, recommend amendments to proposed regulations issued by the [relevant state agency];
(2) Recommend complementary programs or policies;
(3) Sample alternative compliance plans to meet building energy performance standards;
(4) Review appeals regarding any action(s) taken due to this title and make recommendations for approval or denial by the [relevant state agency];
(5) Review alternative compliance plans submitted and make recommendations for approval or denial by the [relevant state agency];
(6) A report to be delivered to the [relevant state agency] no later than [date] for additional or improved approaches to assessing building energy performance. Such report shall include, but not be limited to:
(A) An approach for buildings to submit energy use or greenhouse gas emissions and other information for the purpose of assessing energy performance of covered buildings;
(B) A methodology that includes the metric of measure, adjustments to the metric, the approach to comparing the output to a benchmark, alternative compliance paths, and credit for beneficial electrificationbeneficial electrification Electrification that saves customers money, enables better grid management and reduces negative environmental impacts. and distributed energy resources;
(C) Recommendations for addressing tenant-controlled energy usage;
(D) Recommendations for reducing building emissions from rent-regulated accommodations;
(E) Recommendations for allowing additional time to comply with the emissions limits for buildings converting to a new occupancy group or use with lower emissions limits or some other change in status that would affect applicability of the provisions of this article; and
(F) A reference guide to delineate the responsibilities of the building designer and owners to comply with emissions limits.
(7) A report to be delivered to the [relevant state agency] no later than [date] providing an analysis of and any recommendations for improving energy and emissions performance requirements for covered buildings. Such recommendations shall be targeted to achieve the [relevant state goal for greenhouse gas, energy emissions, health of occupants, comfort] in covered buildings by [date][calendar year [year] relative to such emissions for the calendar year [year]]. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, assessments of:
(A) Incentives for reduction of peak energy demand;
(B) Methods to allow for staggered reporting cycles for compliance with energy and emissions performance improvements;
(C) Methods for calculating penalties for noncompliance;
(D) Estimated emissions reductions associated with any recommended energy performance requirements;
(E) The economic impact, including benefits, of achieving the energy and emissions performance requirements;
(F) Methods for achieving earlier or larger reductions from city-owned buildings;
(G) Separate improvement targets for base building energy systems and tenant-controlled energy systems;
(H) Methods for achieving emissions reductions from manufacturing and industrial processes; and
(I) Methods for achieving emissions reductions from hospitals while maintaining critical care for human health and safety; and
(b) Advisory board composition. (See composition list above.)
Energy Data Access Requirements
To make informed decisions about building energy performance and the setting of effective standards for a BPS, decision-makers require performance data. The options below from Colorado and Washington provide two approaches for articulating BPS data needs. The Colorado legislation requires the utility to establish a publicly available aggregation threshold of four or fewer utility customer accounts and to make this energy use data readily available on a website to a building owner, who can then directly upload the data to the owner’s benchmarking tool account. The Washington state example requires the utility to maintain consumption data for all qualifying buildings and utilizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star portfolio manager. It is important for utilities to provide whole-building aggregated data for building owners to comply with benchmarking requirements. It is also important to allow building owners the opportunity to review and revise data where there are errors.
In future iterations of a BPS, states may want to consider ensuring that the data being provided by the utilities are available in ways that support using buildings as a tool for grid decarbonization. To do this, data may need to be provided on a much more granular level, at the hourly or subhourly level, and be provided to building owners with more frequency than annually. Where grid decarbonization is a statewide goal, developing the necessary infrastructure to support such a data exchange and educating building owners on how to best use the data should be done sooner rather than later.
(a) On or before [date], a qualifying utility shall:
(1) Establish an aggregation threshold that is four or fewer utility customer accounts;
(2) Publish its aggregation threshold on its public website; and
(3) Upon request of an owner of a covered building, begin providing energy use data to the owner [and the ability to make requests for revisions to utility data where there are errors before submitting].
(b) Energy use data that a qualifying utility provides an owner pursuant to this section must be:
(1) Available on, or able to be requested through, an easily navigable web portal or online request form using up-to-date standards for digital authentication, including single one-time passwords or multifactor authentication;
(2) Provided to the owner within:
(A) Ninety days after receiving the owner’s valid written or electronic request if the request is received in [initial year of program];
(B) Thirty days after receiving the owner’s valid written or electronic request if the request is received in [date] or later;
(3) Directly uploaded to the owner’s benchmarking tool account, delivered in the spreadsheet template specified by the benchmarking tool, or delivered in another format approved by the office;
(4) Provided to the owner on at least an annual basis until the owner revokes the request for energy use data or sells the covered building;
(5) Provided in accordance with this subsection, regardless of whether the owner is named on the utility account for the covered building; and
(6) Provided in accordance with the public utilities commission’s rules concerning customer data and personally identifying information, if the qualifying utility is an investor-owned utility.
(c) For covered buildings that do not meet the qualifying utility’s aggregation threshold and thus require utility customer consent to access or share energy use data, the consent:
(1) May be in written or electronic form;
(2) May be provided in a lease agreement provision;
(3) Is valid until the utility customer revokes it; and
(4) Is not required if a utility customer vacates the covered building before explicitly denying the owner consent to access and share the utility customer’s energy use data.
(d) To meet the requirements of subsection (b), a qualifying utility that is not an investor-owned utility may seek and use grant funding from the [relevant state fund], a nonprofit corporation or the [state] energy fund.
(a) On and after [date], qualifying utilities shall maintain records of the energy consumption data of all [whole building] nonresidential [residential buildings over [five][x] units] and qualifying public agency buildings to which they provide service. [Qualifying utilities shall allow building owners the opportunity make requests for revisions to utility data where there are errors before submitting.] This data must be maintained for at least the most recent 12 months in a format compatible for uploading to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star portfolio manager.
(b) On and after [date], upon the written authorization or secure electronic authorization of a nonresidential building owner or operator, a qualifying utility shall upload the energy consumption data for the accounts specified by the owner or operator for a building to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star portfolio manager in a form that does not disclose personally identifying information.
(c) In carrying out the requirements of this section, a qualifying utility shall use any method for providing the specified data in order to maximize efficiency and minimize overall program cost. Qualifying utilities are encouraged to consult with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and their customers in developing reasonable reporting options.
(d) Disclosure of nonpublic nonresidential benchmarking data and ratings required under this section will be phased in as follows:
(1) By January 1, [year], for buildings greater than 50,000 square feet; and
(2) By January 1, [year], for buildings greater than 10,000 square feet.
(e) Based on the size guidelines in this section, a building owner or operator or their agent, of a nonresidential building shall disclose the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star portfolio manager benchmarking data and ratings to a prospective buyer, lessee or lender for the most recent continuously occupied 12-month period. A building owner or operator or their agent, who delivers the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star portfolio manager benchmarking data and ratings to a prospective buyer, lessee or lender is not required to provide additional information regarding energy consumption, and the information is deemed to be adequate to inform the prospective buyer, lessee or lender regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star portfolio manager benchmarking data and ratings for the most recent 12-month period for the building that is being sold, leased, financed or refinanced.
(f) Notwithstanding subsections (d) and (e) of this section, nothing in this section increases or decreases the duties, if any, of a building owner, operator or their agent under this chapter or alters the duty of a seller, agent or broker to disclose the existence of a material fact affecting the real property.
Customer Resources, Information and Outreach
A BPS can be confusing to building owners. Efforts to provide information, assistance and help desks can help make a program successful. In a series of interviews on social priorities in building performance standards, stakeholders recommended deployment of “help desks, building concierge services, technical assistance programs, and financial assistance programs with affordability covenants where possible that target helping subsidized and naturally occurring affordable housing buildings in meeting BPS requirements,” particularly in the implementation phase.124
New York City outreach and education efforts
New York Local Law 97 contains two provisions that provide assistance to building owners:125
- 28-320.4 Assistance. The office of building energy and emissions performance shall establish and maintain a program for assisting owners of covered buildings in complying with this article, as well as expand existing programs established to assist owners in making energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. These programs shall be made available to assist building owners without adequate financial resources or technical expertise.
- 28-320.5 Outreach and education. The office of building energy and emissions performance shall establish and engage in outreach and education efforts to inform building owners about building emissions limits, building emissions intensity limits and compliance with this article. The materials developed for such outreach and education shall be made available on the office’s website. Such outreach shall include a list of city, state, federal, private and utility incentive programs related to energy reduction or renewable energy for which buildings reasonably could be eligible. The office of building energy and emissions performance shall also provide outreach, education and training opportunities for buildings’ maintenance and operations staff.
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U.S. Department of Energy. (n.d.). Benchmarking and Building Performance Standards: A Resource Compendium. https://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/alliance/sector/commercial-real-estate/benchmarking
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. (2016a, May 31). Energy codes 101: What are they and what is DOE’s role? U.S. Department of Energy. https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/articles/energy-codes-101-what-are-they-and-what-does-role
- New Buildings Institute. (n.d.). Stretch codes. https://newbuildings.org/code_policy/utility-programs-stretch-codes/stretch-codes/
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. (n.d.-a). Building Performance Standards. U.S. Department of Energy. https://www.energycodes.gov/BPS#:~:text=Building%20Performance%20Standards%20(BPS)%20are,gas%20emissions%2Dbased%20performance%20targets
- York, D., Bastian, H., Relf, G., & Amann, J. (2017). Transforming energy efficiency markets: Lessons learned and next steps. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. https://ipu.msu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/ACEEE-Energy-Efficiency-Markets-2017.pdf
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2007). Chapter 5: Retrocommissioning. Energy Star building upgrade manual. https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/tools-and-resources/building-upgrade-manual
- State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network. (2013). Energy audits and retro-commissioning: State and local policy design guide and sample policy language. https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2021-07/commercialbuildings_audits_rcx_policy_guide.pdf
- State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network. (2012). Energy benchmarking, rating, and disclosure for local governments. https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2021-07/commercialbuildings_factsheet_benchmarking_localgovt.pdf
- For more information on energy codes see New Buildings Institute. (n.d.). Codes & policy. https://newbuildings.org/hubs/codes-policy/
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, 2016a.
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, 2016a.
- International Code Council. (2021). 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IECC2021P2
- ASHRAE. (2022). Standard 90.1-2022 — Energy standard for sites and buildings except low-rise residential buildings. https://www.ashrae.org/technical-resources/bookstore/standard-90-1
- U.S. Department of Energy. (2016, December). Saving energy and money with building energy codes in the United States. https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/12/f34/Codes%20Fact%20Sheet%2012-28-16.pdf
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, 2016a.
- Building Codes Assistance Project. (n.d.). Energy codes 101. https://bcapcodes.org/getting-started/energy-codes-101/
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. (2022, June 30). Status of state energy code adoption — Commercial. U.S. Department of Energy. https://www.energycodes.gov/status/commercial. This site also links to the status of adoption of residential energy codes.
- Salcido, V. R., Chen, Y., Xie, Y., & Taylor, Z. T. (2021, June). National cost effectiveness of the residential provisions of the 2021 IECC. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. https://www.energycodes.gov/sites/default/files/2021-07/2021IECC_CostEffectiveness_Final_Residential.pdf
- Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act, Pub. L. No. 117-58, H.R. 3684, 117th Cong. (2021). https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684/text
- Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Pub. L. No. 117-169, 136 Stat. 1818, H.R. 5376, 117th Cong. (2022). https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5376
- Seals, B. A., & Krasner, A. (2020). Health effects from gas stove pollution. Rocky Mountain Institute, Mothers Out Front, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Sierra Club. https://psr.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/health-effects-from-gas-stove-pollution.pdf
- Seals & Krasner, 2020, citing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2008). Integrated science assessment (ISA), for oxides of nitrogen — Health criteria (final report, Jul 2008), pp. 2-38. https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/isa/recordisplay.cfm?deid=194645
- National Conference of State Legislatures. (2021, September 23). Building efficiency. https://www.ncsl.org/research/energy/building-efficiency.aspx
- Moore, T. (2020). Dillon rule and home rule: Principles of local governance. Nebraska Legislative Research Office. https://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/pdf/reports/research/snapshot_localgov_2020.pdf
- National Conference of State Legislatures, 2021, modified to add Illinois.
- National Building Performance Standards Coalition. (n.d.). About the National BPS Coalition. https://nationalbpscoalition.org/#cities
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2021). Section 2: Building performance standards: Overview for state and local decision makers. Benchmarking and building performance standards policy toolkit. https://www.epa.gov/statelocalenergy/benchmarking-and-building-performance-standards-policy-toolkit
- Institute for Market Transformation. (n.d.). Energy benchmarking and transparency benefits. https://www.imt.org/resources/fact-sheet-energy-benchmarking-and-transparency-benefits/
- Building Energy Codes Program. (2022, September 30.) State and local building performance standards. Tableau Public. https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/doebecp/viz/BuildingPerformanceStandards/BuildingPerformanceStandards
- Riley, M. (2020, January 15). Energy codes: Keeping occupants safe and healthy. Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships. https://neep.org/blog/energy-codes-keeping-occupants-safe-and-healthy
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. (2016b, September 19). How are building codes adopted? U.S. Department of Energy. https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/articles/how-are-building-codes-adopted
- DiChristopher, T. (2022, April 25). Washington state to require electric heating in building code update. S&P Global. https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/washington-state-to-require-electric-heating-in-building-code-update-69960737
- DiChristopher, 2022.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Heat pump systems. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/heat-pump-systems
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. (n.d.-b). Grid-interactive efficient buildings. U.S. Department of Energy. https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/grid-interactive-efficient-buildings
- Emerald Cities Collaborative. (2020). The Building Electrification Equity Project. https://emeraldcities.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/BEE_Report_Final.pdf
- Emerald Cities Collaborative, 2020.
- An act to amend Section 25711.5 of, and to add Section 25233.5 to, the Public Resources Code, relating to electricity, ch. 720, S.B. 68 (Calif. 2021) (enacted). https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB68
- The law directs the California Energy Commission to assess the feasibility of reducing emissions from new and existing buildings by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. An act to add Section 25403 to the Public Resources Code, relating to energy, ch. 373, A.B. 3232 (Calif. 2018) (enacted). https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB3232
- Energy Benchmarking for State Buildings, S.B. 492, Gen. Assemb., Sess. 2013 (N.C. 2013). https://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2013/Bills/Senate/HTML/S492v1.html
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, 2022.
- Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, Pub. Act No. 102-0662, S.B. 2408, Gen. Assemb. (Ill. Sept. 15, 2021) (enacted). https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/ceja/Documents/102-0662.pdf
- National Conference of State Legislatures, 2021.
- Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, S.B. 0528/C.H. 0038 (Md. June 1, 2022) (enacted). https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Legislation/Details/sb0528?ys=2022RS
- Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, S.B. 0528, first text draft (Md. Jan. 28, 2022). https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2022RS/bills/sb/sb0528f.pdf
- Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022.
- Renda, M. (2021, July 7). Berkeley plan to ban natural gas survives challenge. Courthouse News Service. https://www.courthousenews.com/judge-tosses-challenge-to-berkeley-plan-to-ban-natural-gas/
- Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. (2022, February). Building energy code straw proposal: Updated stretch code & specialized opt-in code. https://www.mass.gov/doc/building-energy-code-straw-proposal-updated-stretch-code-specialized-opt-in-code-feb-2022/download
- All-Electric Building Act, S.B. S6843A, 2021-2022 Leg. Sess. (N.Y. 2022). https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/s6843/amendment/a
- Maldonado, S. (2021, November 1). Bill to require all-electric buildings in New York state gets jump-start. The City. https://www.thecity.nyc/2021/11/1/22758348/all-electric-buildings-for-new-york-state-under-landmark-bill
- The White House. (2022, January 21). Fact sheet: Biden-Harris administration launches coalition of states and local governments to strengthen building performance standards. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/01/21/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-launches-coalition-of-states-and-local-governments-to-strengthen-building-performance-standards/. See also National Building Performance Standards Coalition, n.d.
- List adapted from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2021.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2021.
- Sunderland, L., & Santini, M. (2020). Filling the policy gap: Minimum energy performance standards for European buildings. Regulatory Assistance Project. https://www.raponline.org/knowledge-center/filling-the-policy-gap-minimum-energy-performance-standards-for-european-buildings/
- City of Portland, Oregon. (2022). Developing standards for rental apartments. https://www.portland.gov/bps/climate-action/building-standards/project-overview/rental-apartments
- Hart, Z. (2015, December). The benefits of benchmarking building performance. Institute for Market Transformation and Pacific Coast Collaborative. https://www.imt.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/PCC_Benefits_of_Benchmarking.pdf
- Nadel, S., & Hinge, A. (2020). Mandatory building performance standards: A key policy for achieving climate goals. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. https://www.aceee.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/buildings_standards_6.22.2020_0.pdf
- Nadel & Hinge, 2020.
- Based on: Energy Performance for Buildings, H.B. 21-1286, Gen. Assemb. 2021, Reg. Sess. (Colo. June 2021) (enacted). https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/2021a_1286_signed.pdf
- Based on: Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017, Public Act 2017 No. 46 (N.Z. Dec. 4, 2017). https://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2017/0046/25.0/DLM6627702.html. The standards are defined in the residential tenancies regulations. They set minimum levels for floor and ceiling insulation. Building integrated heating systems are required for all properties, with specific requirements for affordability and efficiency. See: Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019, LI 2019/88 (N.Z. Nov. 26, 2022). https://legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2019/0088/latest/LMS147044.html
- Ann Arbor, Michigan, provides a U.S. example that requires minimum housing quality for rental properties similar to the New Zealand example. See Ann Arbor, Mich., Ordinance 5-57 (1957); amended Ordinance 22-80 (1980), Title VII - Building Regulations, Ch. 105 - Housing Code, 8:507 - Plumbing systems. https://library.municode.com/mi/ann_arbor/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TITVIIIBURE_CH105HOCO_8_507PLSY&showChanges=true
- For more on ventilation in a BPS, see Institute for Market Transformation & International WELL Building Institute. (2021). Building performance standard module: Ventilation and indoor air quality. https://www.imt.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/BPS-Ventilation-Brief-CW04.pdf
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2021.
- Schaeffer, K. (2022, March 23). Key facts about housing affordability in the U.S. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/03/23/key-facts-about-housing-affordability-in-the-u-s/
- Schaeffer, 2022.
- Schaeffer, 2022.
- Silverman, B., Miller, J., & Biever, Q. (2022). Building performance standard module: Housing affordability. Institute for Market Transformation and Elevate. https://www.imt.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/IMT-Housing-Affordability-CW5.pdf
- Silverman et al., 2022.
- The Institute for Market Transformation uses Ecotrust’s definition.
- Based on: Energy Performance for Buildings, H.B. 21-1286.
- Based on: CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018, D.C. Law 22-257, Section 301 (D.C. 2018). https://code.dccouncil.gov/us/dc/council/laws/22-257
- Based on: An Act for Providing Building Justice with Jobs, S.B. 2226, 192nd Cong. (2021-2022) (Mass. 2022). https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/SD2102
- For robust comparisons of metrics, see: American Cities Climate Challenge. (2021). Building performance standards: A framework for equitable policies to address existing buildings. https://www.usdn.org/uploads/cms/documents/bps-framework_july-2021_final.pdf; and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2022). Understanding and choosing metrics for building performance standards. https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/tools-and-resources/white_paper_understanding_and_choosing_metrics_building_performance_standards
- CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018.
- Energy Efficiency, ch. 285, H.B. 1257, 66th Legislature, 2019 Reg. Sess. (Wash. July 28, 2019) (enacted). http://www.commerce.wa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/HB1257.pdf
- New York Administrative Code, Title 28, Chapter 3 - Maintenance of Buildings, Article 320 - Building Energy and Emissions Limits, Section 28-320.3.1 Annual building emissions limits for 2024-2029 (added by Local Law 97 of 2019). https://www.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/apps/pdf_viewer/viewer.html?file=2014CC_AC_Chapter3_Maintenance_of_Buildings.pdf§ion=conscode_2014
- St. Louis, Mo., Ordinance 71132 (Feb. 14, 2020), Board Bill No. 219AA, Building Energy Performance Standards. https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/city-laws/upload/legislative//Ordinances/BOAPdf/71132%20Combined.pdf
- Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, Enrolled S.B. 528, Reg. Sess. (Md. 2022). https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2022RS/bills/sb/sb0528E.pdf
- Institute for Market Transformation. (2021). Model ordinance for a building performance standard. https://www.imt.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/IMT_Final_Annotated_Model_BPS_Ordinance_Oct2021.pdf
- U.S. Green Building Council. (n.d.). LEED certification for existing buildings and spaces. https://www.usgbc.org/leed/rating-systems/existing-buildings
- International WELL Building Institute. (n.d.). WELL certification. https://www.wellcertified.com/certification/v2
- Fitwel. (n.d.). Certification. https://www.fitwel.org/certification
- RESET. (n.d.). RESET Air. https://www.reset.build/standard/air
- For more information on the metrics in this table and how to calculate them, see: Miller, A., & Carbonnier, K. (2020). New metrics for evaluating building-grid integration. New Buildings Institute. https://newbuildings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/NewMetricsForEvaluatingBuildingGridIntegration.pdf
- Miller & Carbonnier, 2020.
- Department for Communities and Local Government. (2006). Housing Health and Safety Rating System: Guidance for landlords and property related professionals. His Majesty’s Government, UK. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/9425/150940.pdf
- Sunderland & Santini, 2020, citing Flemish government. (2019, 29 May). Decree of the Flemish government regarding home quality control. https://codex.vlaanderen.be/Zoeken/Document.aspx?DID=1032181¶m=inhoud
- Sunderland & Santini, 2020.
- Based on: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2022.
- American Cities Climate Challenge, 2021.
- Energy Performance for Buildings, H.B. 21-1286.
- For a discussion on the implications of using direct greenhouse gas emissions, see Majersik, C. (2022, April 22). Two new building performance standards adopted in Maryland. Institute for Market Transformation. https://www.imt.org/news/two-new-building-performance-standards-adopted-in-maryland/
- Majersik, 2022.
- Institute for Market Transformation. (2023, January). Comparison of U.S. building performance standards. https://www.imt.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/06.22-BPS-Matrix.pdf
- To amend the New York city charter and the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the commitment to achieve certain reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; see New York City, Local Law No. 97 (2019), Local Laws of the City of New York for the Year 2019. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/local_laws/ll97of2019.pdf
- CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018.
- Institute for Market Transformation, 2023.
- Sunderland & Santini, 2020.
- Other policies, such as an energy efficiency ordinance for certain rental properties, do use time-of-sale requirements. See: Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. (2020). Minimum energy standards for rented properties: An international review. https://www.energy.gov.au/sites/default/files/BEET%2010%20Minimum%20Energy%20Standards%20for%20Rental%20Properties%20-%20An%20International%20Review.pdf
- Maby, C. (2020, April). Improving energy efficiency in owner-occupied homes in Scotland. https://existinghomesalliancescotland.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Energy-Performance-Standards-in-owner-occupied-homes_FINAL_April-2020.pdf
- Some jurisdictions in the U.S. have adopted minimum standards for rentals, including Massachusetts and Boulder, Colorado.
- Elrich, M. (2021, April 1). Introduction of XX-21, Environmental Sustainability — Building Energy Use Benchmarking and Performance Standards — Amendments [Memorandum]. Office of the County Executive, Montgomery County, Maryland. https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/green/Resources/Files/energy/building-energy-performance-standards.pdf
- Denver, Colo., Ordinance amending the Revised Municipal Code of the City and County of Denver, File No. 21-1310 (Denver City Council, Nov. 22, 2021) (enacted). https://denver.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5196421&GUID=641EBED8-31C9-4CA0-A8F9-946569B7C293&Options=ID%7CText%7C&Search=greenhouse+gas+emissions
- Starting in 2025, an office building in Boston will be permitted to emit no more than 5.3 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per square foot per year, 3.2 kg starting in 2030, 2.4 kg starting in 2035, all the way down to 0 kg CO2e per square foot per year in 2050 and every year thereafter. Silverman, B. (2021, June 16). Boston introduces building performance standard. Institute for Market Transformation. : https://www.imt.org/boston-introduces-building-performance-standard/
- Based on: The Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, Draft Scottish Statutory Instruments (Scot. Apr. 1, 2020). https://www.legislation.gov.uk/sdsi/2020/9780111043912
- Based on: Energy Performance for Buildings, H.B. 21-1286.
- Based on: European Environment Agency. (2010, May 19). Directive 2010/31/EU — Energy performance of buildings directive [Policy document]. https://www.eea.europa.eu/policy-documents/energy-performance-of-buildings-directive/
- Institute for Market Transformation, 2023.
- Institute for Market Transformation, 2023.
- Institute for Market Transformation, 2023.
- Based on: CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018.
- Based on: Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, Enrolled S.B. 528.
- Based on: St. Louis, Mo., Ordinance 71132; and Elrich, 2021.
- Silverman et al., 2022.
- Silverman et al., 2022.
- Denver Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency. (n.d.). Energize Denver ordinance [Presentation]. https://ifmadenver.org/images/downloads/march.pdf
- Energy Performance for Buildings, H.B. 21-1286.
- The task force had 12 meetings between September 2021 and September 2022 and then concluded.
- Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, Enrolled S.B. 528.
- CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018.
- St. Louis, Mo., Ordinance 71132; and New York City, Local Law No. 97 (2019).
- Silverman et al., 2022.
- Based on: Energy Performance for Buildings, H.B. 21-1286.
- Based on: Energy Efficiency, ch. 285, H.B. 1257.
- Silverman et al., 2022.
- New York City, Local Law No. 97 (2019).