Kuegler Associates: Consulting Engineers - Designed Right = Built Right

Massachusetts takes energy conservation and management very seriously, which is why communities such as Boston are passing legislation to encourage the construction of green buildings and other measures designed to curb carbon emissions.

For example, Boston’s Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) requires the city’s medium- and large-sized buildings to report their annual energy and water use and to complete a major energy savings action or energy assessment every five years. This legislation stems from the fact that over 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Boston come from buildings. BERDO makes building owners, tenants, and other stakeholders more aware of their energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions as well as opportunities to reduce both. It also requires the city to make this data public. Buildings covered must also show concerted efforts to reduce their emissions every five years through energy actions or audits.

BERDO requires all large buildings in Boston to report their energy use to the city every year. Buildings must also decrease their energy usage and carbon emissions or perform an energy assessment every five years. For most buildings, the due dates for these Energy Action and Assessment (EAA) requirements are:

  • May 15, 2020 – Residential buildings 50,000 sf or 50 units and larger. First year of reporting to BERDO in 2015
  • May 15, 2021 – Non-residential buildings 35,000 sf or larger. First year of reporting to BERDO in 2016
  • May 15, 2022 – Residential buildings 35,000 sf or 35 units or larger. First year of reporting to BERDO in 2017. New buildings must report their EEAs five years after their first data report.

To comply, buildings must demonstrate that they are highly efficient, have achieved significant reductions in carbon emissions, or have performed an energy audit. Buildings that comply through the assessment pathway must have performed an energy audit during the five years prior to the due date.

  • Buildings greater than 50,000 sf must complete an ASHRAE Level 2 Audit
  • Buildings under 50,000 sf in size may seek an ASHRAE Level 1 or other equivalent audit to fulfill this requirement
  • Buildings may apply to use alternative methods

Audits must be performed by a qualified energy professional and report the date of the assessment, the name of the qualified energy professional, and a list of the recommended energy conservation measures with their estimated energy savings and payback period.

BERDO is just one example of the growing need for sizable residential, commercial, and professional buildings to better assess and manage their energy usage. As requirements continue to be introduced locally, regionally, and nationally, it’s important for building owners to seek out professional consulting and engineering assistance to ensure compliance.

Ultimately, advanced energy management practices require ongoing operational insights and a strong structural backbone. A smart energy management system will improve energy efficiency, ensure operational continuity, and help your business bolster its bottom line.

The more data you obtain and the more assets you monitor, the closer you’ll be to realizing and even improving on your operational goals while ensuring regulatory compliance.