Friday, June 18, 2010

ASTM Building Energy Performance Standard To Be Balloted This Summer

For the past two years an ASTM task group consisting of more than 300 property owners and investors, consultants, lenders, attorneys, government officials and academics have been working feverishly to develop a consensus standard for building energy performance assessment (BEPA). The objective of the standard is to standardize the collection and reporting of energy use information associated with a building involved in a commercial real estate transaction.
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With the proliferation of states, cities and local municipalities establishing timeframes for disclosure of building energy use information to prospective purchasers, lenders and others, it is imperative that a consistent, reliable and transparent methodology be available for the industry to use in making this disclosure. The ASTM standard is being developed with precisely this purpose in mind.
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The standard requires collection of data over the last three years, or back to the last major renovation if it occured less than three years ago (but not less than a year ago), with a minimum of 12 month's data needed to conduct the BEPA. Major renovation is defined as expansion or reduction of a building's gross floor area by 10% or more, or if total building energy use is impacted by more than 10%. The standard does determine energy use intensity (referred to as the pro forma energy use intensity) based upon normalized independent variables (such as heating degree days, cooling degree days, occupancy, etc.). However, the standard also determines an upper and lower range for this energy use intensity. The standard does likewise for building energy cost. The end result for a building is an energy use (MMBtu/yr), energy use intensity (kBtu/SF-yr), upper and lower range for energy use and energy use intensity, energy cost ($/yr) and upper and lower range for energy cost.
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It is expected that the standard will facilitate better benchmarking of buildings and complement many of the existing building labeling initiatives that already exist in the marketplace.
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ASTM balloting of the standard will take place over the summer, with the expectation that the standard will be approved and published later this year.