Fighting climate change at the local level means taking serious steps to reduce carbon emissions generated by buildings. Understanding this, leading-edge cities are shifting to mandatory policies. The most powerful of these is a building performance standard (BPS).

What is a Building Performance Standard?

A BPS policy can include multiple standards, each targeted to increase performance for a different aspect of a building. These can include energy, gas, and water use, as well as emissions and peak energy demand. These targets become stricter over time, driving continuous, long-term improvement in the building stock. BPS complements building energy codes; the two strategies work in tandem to improve building performance. A BPS applies to a broad swath of buildings even when they are not pulling permits. From a building owner perspective, BPS provides flexibility, as owners can use whatever technologies and operational strategies they decide are most effective and economical to meet the target.

Building Performance Standards: A Powerful New Tool in the Fight Against Climate Change

This two-page fact sheet lays out the basics of building performance standards, new mandatory policies that require building owners to meet performance targets by actively improving the energy performance of their building over time. The fact sheet is also available in Spanish.

Map of Current Building Performance Policies

IMT maintains a national listing of jurisdictions that have passed building performance standards.

Comparison of U.S. Building Performance Standards

This matrix compares the requirements of building performance standards in U.S. cities and states.

Comparison of U.S. Building Audit, Tune-Ups, and Retrocommissioning Policies

This matrix compares the requirements of commercial building audit, tune-ups, and retrocommissioning policies in U.S. cities and states.

Summary of IMT’s Model Ordinance for a Building Performance Standard

This document provides a high-level overview of the Institute for Market Transformation’s (IMT) model ordinance for a building performance standard (BPS).

Summary Presentation of IMT’s Model Building Performance Standard Ordinance

This PDF presentation is part of a suite of resources for a Model Building Performance Standard Ordinance.

Model Ordinance for Building Performance Standards

IMT’s model ordinance is intended to provide the structural foundation for a strong BPS ordinance in any jurisdiction.

Blog posts related to Building Performance Standards

A Lifecycle Approach to Building Performance Regulation

This document examines the missing link between energy codes and building performance standards and presents actions that cities can take to make progress towards a building lifecycle approach to regulation.

Preparing for Building Policy: Understanding the Business of Real Estate

This resource aims to enhance city personnel perspectives on how the real estate industry functions—including how different market actors work together throughout the various phases of a building’s lifecycle—and foster more meaningful conversations with stakeholders.

Providing Local Market Support for a Building Performance Standard

For cities exploring and implementing building performance standards, a high-performance building hub provides critical guidance, technical assistance, or access to available incentives to building owners, designers, contractors, and operators.

Opportunities to Advance Demand Flexibility with Building Performance Standards

This document is written to guide state and local governments that are developing a building performance standard in thinking through how it might encourage demand flexibility.

Understanding the Housing Affordability Risk Posed by Building Performance Policies

The costs of building energy improvement could be prohibitive for many affordable multifamily property owners and managers, but exempting them misses an opportunity to decarbonize buildings and improve energy equity for residents. This paper identifies potential solutions for improved energy performance of affordable housing.

Using Building Performance Standards to Advance Electrification

Electrification is a key component of a comprehensive city decarbonization strategy. How can cities use building performance standards to advance electrification?

Overcoming Seven Key Landlord-Tenant Hurdles to Make Ambitious Carbon Reductions a Reality

To meet the goals of New York City’s building performance standard, Local Law 97 (LL97), requires addressing landlord-tenant hurdles. This resource provides key insights on what must be addressed from New York City building owners, tenants, trade associations, nonprofits, and the NY Green Bank.

The District of Columbia High-Performance Building Hub

IMT is establishing a high-performance building hub to help District of Columbia real estate and building professionals achieve ambitious climate goals.

Looking for More Info?

As a leader in building performance policy, IMT is on the ground helping cities explore, develop, and execute these policies. At the same time, we are helping building owners and tenants participating in policy development while also identifying and overcoming barriers to improving their buildings ahead of compliance deadlines. A growing set of resources are compiled below and updated on a regular basis. In addition, IMT is available to answer individual questions.

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