In this series, we’re exploring state and local building efficiency regulations to give you a bird’s-eye view of the policies that may impact your portfolio.
As the old saying goes, “Think Global, Act Local.”
Nowhere is this more evident than in the many states and metropolitan areas around the U.S. that have developed climate action plans to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, even in the absence of more sweeping federal legislation.
Many of these regions are highly urbanized, so it should come as no surprise that commercial building efficiency is often a key focus area within these plans. Building emissions contribute to approximately 40% of carbon emissions in the U.S., and many state and local regulators have focused on incentivizing improvements to building efficiency as a means of lowering emissions and showing leadership on climate change.
One common method is to establish efficiency requirements for building owners. These requirements can involve things like: tracking, reporting, and benchmarking building energy consumption; conducting regular energy audits; introducing efficiency standards that go above and beyond pre-existing building energy codes; and, more recently, targeting net-zero energy for new construction projects.
The Clean Energy Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 (the CEDC Act) represents one of the country’s most aggressive and impactful initiatives in the fight against climate change. With building energy use accounting for nearly 75 percent of the District’s greenhouse gas emissions, the legislation takes aggressive and innovate action to target this sector, most notably with the first-of-its-kind Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS). BEPS establishes a minimum energy performance for commercial and multifamily buildings. Buildings below the threshold will be required to improve their energy performance by 20% over the 5-year compliance period or take other prescriptive actions in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by 50% by 2032.
We’ve rounded up the key building energy requirements, policies, and plans for the Washington, D.C. metro area.