Major Cities Fight Climate Change With New Building Performance Standards

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | November 11, 2019
Photo by Kbedi on / CC BY-NC-ND

Three large jurisdictions adopted Building Performance Standards (BPS) policies in 2019, and more are considering such action. A BPS policy can include multiple standards, each targeted to improve performance for different aspects of a building, including reductions in energy, emissions, energy demand, and gas and water use. A BPS policy requires data to be available to set and measure the performance for each standard at the individual building level.
In recent years, many cities have adopted benchmarking policies including ENERGY STAR scores, energy use intensity (energy use per square foot), greenhouse gas emissions per square foot, and water use intensity. These metrics can be used to support a BPS program.
Three jurisdictions in the U.S.—the District of Columbia, New York City, and the State of Washington—all adopted a BPS in 2019, though they have yet to be implemented. More than a dozen jurisdictions are considering BPS, including Boston and Saint Louis.

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