Numerous policies are in place that require owners to improve building performance, including building tune-ups, energy audits, and lighting upgrades. Building Performance Standards (BPS) take an approach to building performance that, while usually mandatory, can be less prescriptive, allowing building owners more flexible choices and longer time frames to implement improvements that make the most sense for their buildings and circumstances.

Energy efficiency programs are increasing in cities and utility jurisdictions throughout the U.S. They provide educational, financial and technical assistance that support implementation of BPS. Supported by utility and other incentives, these programs are instrumental in achieving the BPS goals set by regulators and legislators.

Why does this matter to commissioning providers? Many steps for meeting BPS compliance involve integrated multi-systems planning, staging, testing, verification and documentation. Sound familiar?

As owner’s advocate, your knowledge and even program involvement can reap great benefits as they navigate the requirements and compliance issues relative to their buildings. Five takeaways from a recent Topic Brief provide guidance for the successful implementation of local energy efficiency programs.

1.       Efficiency programs should ramp up prior to required compliance dates to assist building owners in preparing for the standards.

2.       Efficiency programs should continue after initial BPS compliance deadlines to assist building owners who have not yet reached compliance and to encourage savings beyond minimum requirements, because full compliance may not occur until after the compliance date.

3.       Efficiency programs should continue to earn energy savings credits for improving buildings relative to a modified baseline, one that is between current building conditions and a state in which buildings are in full compliance with BPS requirements.

4.       Utility regulators should make decisions on how programs will receive savings credit so that BPS administrators, building owners, and efficiency program administrators can plan their compliance and implementation activities.

5.       Efficiency programs should consider launching a stakeholders’ initiative to collaborate on these issues so that building owners are educated and tenant needs are fully addressed.

Energy efficiency programs are now active in all of the U.S. jurisdictions that have either enacted or are seriously considering BPS. Want to know more? Check out the annual (October) ACEEE 2020 Clean City Scorecard to see policies, initiatives, progress, and how your city is doing.