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This week owners and property managers of properties exceeding 50k square feet in the District of Columbia received a letter from the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) informing them of whether their building is subject to Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS). The letter contains reference to the “CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Act of 2018”  and directs the reader to the “The BEPS Portal”. So, what does all this mean and what should you do if you receive such a letter?

What is the DC BEPS?

The BEPS is a standard of energy efficiency for buildings that is equal to the DC median ENERGY STAR score of each building type. Essentially, it means that if your building is below average efficiency, you’ll have to implement Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) to improve your score. For more details, click here to view the BEPS section of our website.

The BEPS letter will inform you that your property falls into one of three categories:

  1. Properties for which 2019 Benchmarking Data has not been submitted
  2. Properties that do not meet the BEPS standard
  3. Properties that meet or exceed the BEPS standard

Here are details on what you should do based on which group your property is part of.

1. If your property has not yet submitted its 2019 District Benchmark Results and Compliance Report

We need to get your information submitted post-haste. DOEE has the legal authority to assess civil fines of up to $100/day to those who have not complied with this provision of the program. Please give us a call at (202) 670-9637 ASAP if you fall under this category and we can help you take care of this.

2. If your property falls short of the BEPS

The first thing you’ll need to report to DOEE is what compliance pathway your property intends to take. Though the deadline to do this is not until April 2023, the sooner you start preparing for compliance, the less likely you may be subject to penalties at the end of the five year compliance cycle. It goes without saying that it’s much better to invest your money into your building instead of forking it over as a penalty! What’s more, the sooner an improvement is implemented, the more money you’ll save in operating expenses.

Take these next steps if your property is part of this group:

  1. Review the benchmarking data in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to make sure it matches with your records of the property
  2. Reach out to an advisor at Honeydew Energy Advisors at (202) 670-9637 for a complimentary initial consultation so we can provide feedback tailored to your situation
  3. Honeydew will prepare a proposal for an ASHRAE energy audit. This audit will provide us with a dashboard showing potential ECMs, payback periods, and how much they will likely improve your ENERGY STAR Score
  4. Based on the findings of the audit, Honeydew will recommend a compliance pathway and coordinate reporting it with DOEE
  5. Honeydew will review and recommend ECMs, in addition to preparing proposals from our network of service providers for your review
  6. Determine which provider your building will use and reserve your space in the construction queue 

3. If your property meets or exceeds the BEPS 

Those that belong to this group most likely did not receive a letter, unless DOEE flags a potential error in their benchmarking report. It is very important to consider whether your benchmarking data is accurately reported in ENERGYSTAR Portfolio Manager (ESPM). 

Benchmarking data will need to be verified by a third party engineering company by 2024. However, we strongly recommend you do this sooner, especially if your ENERGY STAR score is close to the BEPS standard score. If you are overestimating your property’s square footage or under-reporting utility data, you may be subject to BEPS after all. Candidly, we’ve seen a lot of issues with the accuracy of data reported by Pepco and Washington Gas in Portfolio Manager and it’s prudent to double check.

The compliance cycle is only 5 years long, meaning benchmarking data from 2025 will be used to assess the civil penalty to your building. If you don’t find this out until 2025, you will likely not have time to implement Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) and be subject to heavy fines! DC only has so many service providers who can help you with BEPS ECMs.

By taking action now, you are already getting ahead of your competition. Give Honeydew a call today at (202) 670-9637 and we’ll help you get on the right track.