ASTM International The American Society of Testing Materials (“ASTM”) recently issued a new standard for building energy performance assessment. The ASTM news release notes that building energy performance disclosure regulations exist in states such as California and Washington as well as cities such as Austin, Texas; Seattle, Washington and New York. As the ASTM news release notes, these regulatory activities combined with the fact that energy efficient buildings are more attractive to lenders, buyers, and tenants, caused ASTM to develop a new standard for building energy performance assessment. The ASTM states that E2797 “Building Energy Performance Standard for a Building in a Real Estate Transaction” (BEPA) is expected to be the foundation for accurate and reliable building energy use data collection, compilation, and analysis in the public and commercial property industry. It was also stated that the standard will complement existing building grading and certification systems to facilitate and improve benchmarking and building labeling.
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.