DC’s Building Energy Performance Standards Take Effect

Owners face public shaming on a published list — as well as fines — if they don’t meet certain benchmarks by 2026 


It’s go time for energy efficiency in larger buildings in the nation’s capital. 

Washington, D.C.’s new Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS) have gone into effect, requiring all buildings 50,000 square feet and larger to meet minimum energy performance targets with benchmarking submitted as of April 1.

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Starting in 2026, the BEPS will also apply to buildings of at least 25,000 square feet, and by 2032 the standards will apply to buildings as small as 10,000 square feet. 

Cushman & Wakefield (CWK)’s 2023 DC BEPS Compliance Guide was produced to help property management teams and owners in D.C. stay ahead of local ordinances. By meeting compliance standards, the report noted, building owners can not only avoid penalties but also improve their buildings’ efficiency, reduce their carbon footprint, and potentially attract more tenants who are interested in environmentally responsible buildings.

There are three compliance pathways D.C. building owners can choose from based on their specific needs, C&W said.   

With the performance pathway, owners can implement energy efficiency measures of their choosing to reduce energy use in their buildings. Compliance under the performance pathway is achieved by a 20 percent reduction in adjusted energy use intensity from the 2019 baseline by the end of the compliance cycle.

The standard target pathway allows building owners flexibility to meet the energy performance requirement, meaning owners can choose the measures they think are best for reducing energy use. Compliance under this pathway is achieved by reaching or exceeding the 2019 benchmark score by the end of the compliance cycle.

The third option is the prescriptive pathway. That includes reporting milestones and implementing one or more recommended design changes to achieve energy savings comparable to the performance pathway, targeting 25 percent savings. Compliance is met by successfully completing specific actions, and meeting locally set reporting and verification requirements.

Building owners who fail to meet compliance standards will face penalties, including fines and the possibility of being shamed publicly as noncompliant. Additionally, buildings that do not meet the standard will be subject to five years of further regulatory oversight and must implement energy efficiency measures to reduce energy use in their buildings. 

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.