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Examining the Building Energy Performance Assessment Standard

The purpose of the new “Building Energy Performance Standard for a Building in a Real Estate Transaction” (BEPA) is to define a commercially useful practice for conducting an energy assessment on a building involved in a commercial real estate transaction and subsequent reporting of the building energy performance information.

What is standardized?

The standard establishes a methodology for the collection, compilation, and analysis of building energy-use information. Here are some key criteria:

  • Time Frame : 3 years or back to last “major renovation”;
  • Weather normalization based upon at least 10 years;
  • Site visit – observation of the building during a walk-through;
  • Interviews with present owner, operator and/or key site manager;
  • Records review and analysis;
  • Report on findings related to building energy use and energy cost;

ASTM BEPA compared to Energy Star® Portfolio Manager

It seems to be straight forward to simply collect utility data and use them for benchmarking the performance, but little things  overlooked can cause serious problems with the accuracy later on. The BEPA standard complements the Energy Star Portfolio Manager as it’s methodology can generate more representative energy-use and cost data. It takes into account the specific building type and use, which is already a big issue when you have a mixed used building in Energy Star, completion date of the last major renovation, monthly occupancy rates, previous energy audit reports, labels and certifications. Furthermore it requests interviews with building managers and a walk through, which are not part of the Energy Star process.

Importance to Sellers, Buyers and Lenders

In the sustainable real estate world professionals use the term Green Building Due Diligence to describe the risk management approach in a real estate transaction process. Taking into account what is at stake during a real estate transaction BEPA will provide a reliable starting point and a safe harbor against disclosure-related liability. As energy disclosure, labeling and benchmarking laws will promulgated, the ASTM BEPA will inform sellers and buyers about the building energy performance status. This will lead to smarter decisions and efficient deployment of capital by investing in energy efficiency projects.

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One comment on “Examining the Building Energy Performance Assessment Standard

Thanks Helge for this great post. I keep noticing that while there have been green/sustainable certifications for years, there is a lot of movement towards measurement and performance (which is fantastic). Check out what we’re doing at the Sustainable Performance Institute (linked above I think). What we’re seeing is a large number of building industry companies working towards sustainability targets such as the 2030 Challenge, LEED Certification, GRI, etc, but not a path to actually achieving those targets. SPI is designed as the how to get there. Let me know what you think.

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