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Report outlines case for Mandatory Building Performance Standards

At current retrofit rates it will take about 500 years to retrofit all residences and more than 60 years to retrofit all commercial buildings in the U.S.


July 6, 2020
By Energy Manager Canada
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The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has issued a white paper entitled “Mandatory Building Performance Standards: A Key Policy for Achieving Climate Goals”.  Although American in focus, the report takes an international view and reviews the rationale for mandatory building performance standards and summarizes steps being taking in local and foreign jurisdictions, including the City of Vancouver.

The white paper notes that existing programs to encourage energy efficiency whole-building retrofits rarely result in the upgrade of more than 1 to 2% of eligible buildings annually. So the writers argue that new and more-aggressive approaches are needed.

The report proposes mandatory building performance standards—requiring existing buildings to meet some performance benchmark (energy or carbon intensity, performance rating), with owners having multiple years to bring buildings into compliance.

The paper outlines existing policies that are in place for high-energy-use commercial and industrial buildings in Tokyo; rental buildings in Boulder, Colorado, and the U.K.; and offices in the Netherlands.

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It also goes through commercial building policies already adopted in Reno, Nevada; New York City; Washington, DC; Washington State; and St. Louis (the New York City; Washington, DC; and St. Louis programs include some multi-family buildings).

The section on Vancouver notes that before specific targets are developed for residential mandates, the city is planning a variety of foundation-setting steps such as developing a decision-support tool for homeowners and developing the supply chain for heat pumps.

The report acknowledges that programs to encourage energy efficiency upgrades to existing buildings have operated for decades, but at current retrofit rates it will take about 500 years to retrofit all residences and more than 60 years to retrofit all commercial buildings.

The white paper suggests that new approaches are needed.

aceee.org


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