High-Performance Building Hub to Help Achieve Climate Commitments

Earlier this year, the District of Columbia passed legislation that requires owners of a broad swath of existing buildings to improve their energy performance to cut the District’s greenhouse gas emissions. To help the District achieve its climate commitments, create jobs, and grow its economy, the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), under the leadership of Mayor Muriel Bowser, is pleased to announce that it is developing a High-Performance Building Hub to provide hands-on assistance to the District’s real estate community and building industry professionals affected by the law.

Sponsored by the District’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), the Hub will help District building industry professionals take actions to improve building performance across new and existing buildings to meet the District’s climate and green building goals. IMT is now hiring a director for the Hub, which will launch in 2020.

“Buildings currently account for about 74 percent of Washington, D.C.’s carbon emissions. Knowing this, improving how all buildings—new and existing—use energy across the District is critical to achieving significant reductions and making the District the most sustainable city in the country,” says Lotte Schlegel, executive director of IMT. “IMT is proud to be leading the development of the Hub as a dynamic go-to resource that will be responsive to the evolving needs of the District’s building professionals as they work to achieve the District’s climate goals.”

“We look forward to working together with the building and real estate community to implement the first-in-the-nation Clean Energy DC Act,” says DOEE Director Tommy Wells. “Given its deep engagement in building performance efforts across the District over many years, IMT is the right partner to be leading this new initiative.”

Driving Climate Action with First-in-the-Nation Policy

The CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 supports Mayor Bowser’s pledge to make the District carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2050. To do this, the law includes a first-in-the-nation policy mechanism, the building energy performance standard (BEPS), which IMT took a leading role in developing. Under the BEPS, all existing buildings over 50,000 square feet will be required to reach minimum levels of energy efficiency or deliver savings by 2026. The threshold for affected buildings will drop in the following years to include buildings as small as 10,000 square feet.

A building performance standard is one of the most powerful tools cities can use to drive aggressive emissions reductions to reach climate commitments. As more cities consider building performance standards as a new tool in their fight against climate change, IMT has released a one-page brief that provides a high-level overview of what a building performance standard is and how cities are using them to drive climate action.

Supporting Success by Responding to Community Needs

In anticipation of the implementation of BEPS requirements, IMT in collaboration with ARUP, the Building Energy Exchange, New Buildings Institute, and Steven Winter Associates, completed a needs assessment of the specific training, capacity buildings, support, and technical assistance needs of the District’s building owners and the consultants they rely on; such as architects, contractors, facility managers, property managers, and real estate brokers. The Hub will also serve as a trusted translator between building industry professionals and related District entities and support systems including the District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility, the DC Green Bank, the District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and other related branches within DOEE.

“After its residents, buildings are the District’s most valuable asset. The Hub will work to empower professionals to design, build, own and operate better buildings that are more resilient, efficient, healthy, and climate-friendly—thus enhancing their value, growing profits, creating jobs across all skill levels, and helping the District to achieve its climate commitments,” says Cliff Majersik, IMT’s director of market transformation.

IMT is working with DOEE and other partner organizations to provide more updates, information, and resources as the Hub is developed. People interested in receiving periodic updates on the development of the Hub can sign up here.

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