Building energy ratings allow owners and tenants to understand their building's energy use and provide the market with information that can assist in properly valuing building energy efficiency. In this way, energy rating represent the “walls” of building energy efficiency—the connection between the floor set by codes and the ceiling set by high-performance standards. NEEP helps to reinforce these walls, in conjunction with its other buildings initiatives, to advance the market towards zero net energy buildings.
Building energy rating and disclosure (BER&D) policies currently in place across the U.S. require property owners to evaluate their buildings using rating tools that evaluate either the actual energy performance of the building (operational rating) or the building's energy efficiency features independent of how the tenant uses them (asset rating). The policies also stipulate the timing and audience for disclosing these ratings results, requiring regular or time of sale reporting either publically or privately.
NEEP promotes BER&D policies that require owners to disclose the energy performance of their buildings to a variety of market actors as a tool to motivate voluntary energy efficiency upgrades. In 2009, NEEP released a report on Valuing Building Energy Efficiency through Disclosure and Upgrade Policies that provides a roadmap for implementing two key tools as part of a building energy rating system. In 2012, NEEP produced a supplement to this report, Building Energy Rating and Disclosure Policies: Update and Lessons from the Field (handout available here), which summarizes recent successful and failed attempts and implementing building energy rating policies across the U.S. and provides guidance to those who want to promote BER&D policies at the state or local level. In 2016, NEEP released the Public Sector Building Energy Benchmarking: Utility Data Access Options and Opportunities report which highlights exemplary municipal efforts at accessing and managing building energy consumption data and offers best practices for public-sector stakeholders to help implement portfolio-wide building energy management. NEEP also supports innovative Building Asset Rating programs that seek to make these ratings more useful and less expensive.
Building energy rating policies have been implemented in several cities and a few states throughout the country. NEEP maintains a brief, Building Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure Policies in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, that highlights where Benchmarking ordinances have been enacted in the region. The information gained from these policies can be used to develop more progressive building energy codes and above-code programs, which helps to pave the way toward zero net energy buildings.
The Achieving Community Efficiency (ACE) project is a DOE SEP grant funded collaboration between NEEP, RI Office of Energy Resources, MA Department of Energy Resources, and WV Office of Energy, and other states in the region. Through this initiative, additional resources have been developed to increase benchmarking and labeling efforts across the region, with a special focus on small, medium, and rural communities. See the links below for more information about these resources:
- Benchmarking Gaps & Analysis for Small, Medium, and Rural Communities - this resource provides information on the importance benchmarking, context around the unique barriers SMR communities face, exemplary efforts in SMR communities, and information on crafting the appropriate policy. Both the residential and commercial sectors are covered in this report.
- Benchmarking Policy Tracker - an update to an existing resource, this brief provides an overview of the states, cities, and counties in the region with commercial and public building benchmarking policies. This resource provides details on the key elements of each of these policies such as the reporting schedule, square footage thresholds, compliance info, and more.
- Data Aggregation Best Practices - A 4 page brief that outlines the various data aggregation thresholds in various cities in and beyond the NEEP region. The goal of the brief is to provide insights and examples of how communities can establish an appropriate data aggregation threshold for their buildings to prevent privacy concerns amongst building owners.
- Public Sector Building Energy Benchmarking - Utility Data Access Options and Opportunities - This update to an existing resource provides the latest updates from around the region in regard to options for providing streamlined access to utility data. This important component of a benchmarking initiative continues to see more utilities improve the way customers can access their data.