Frequently Asked Questions About BERDO

BERDO is a city-wide ordinance, requiring Boston buildings to report their annual energy use and to undergo an energy assessment or submit an energy action plan every five years


What is BERDO?

The Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) is an initiative within Boston’s 2019 Climate Action Plan, which aims to help Boston achieve its goal to become carbon neutral by 2050 by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

In order to meet the goal, Boston is now requiring all medium-large Boston buildings to report their energy usage annually and reducing it by at least 15% every 5 years. an initiative makes building owners, tenants, and other stakeholders more aware of their energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions and opportunities to reduce both. Buildings covered must also show concerted efforts to reduce their emissions every five years through energy actions or audits. This helps Bostonians save money and the City achieve its emissions reduction goals, as laid out in its Climate Action Plan.

When did the Ordinance begin?

The ordinance passed in 2013 requires Boston’s large and medium-sized buildings to report their annual energy and water use. Buildings must also report the ways they are improving their energy performance by completing an energy savings action plan, which should report the ways they are improving their energy performance.

For example, by lowering their energy usage, decreasing reliance on fossil fuels, or getting an energy assessment.

Why do building owners have to participate?

This requirement is meant to help spur action in Boston’s largest buildings, helping them to lower their greenhouse gas emissions, save money on their energy bills, and assist the City in meeting its Carbon Free by 2050 climate goal.

Carbon Free Boston is the city’s initiative to become carbon neutral by 2050 by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

What does the city of Boston do with the data?

The ordinance requires the City to make the information public. By reporting usage data, makes owners and tenants more aware of energy use, energy costs, and greenhouse gas emissions, and opportunities to reduce all three.

This data and the owner’s awareness of it will help the City of Boston achieve the main goal for its Carbon Free Boston initiative to become carbon neutral by 2050, by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Reports on buildings’ first-year analysis and findings, which identifying energy use patterns across building types and sectors, are available publicly on boston.gov. The Most recent version is the Energy and Water Use in Boston’s Large buildings.

Who does it affect?

Beginning in 2017 and continuing every year thereafter, the requirements apply to:

  • All non-residential buildings greater than 35,000 square feet
  • Residential buildings that are 35,000 square feet larger or have 35 or more units
  • Any parcel with multiple buildings that sum to 100,000 square feet or 100 units.
Who is responsible for submitting reports?

The building owner or condominium association is responsible for reporting. Non-residential tenants must, if asked, supply the necessary information to the owner or association.

Which Properties are Required to Report?

On boston.gov, you can find a list that identifies all properties required to report, including those that began reporting in previous years.

What steps need to be taken to complete submit a report?

Boston has provided a step-by-step guide to completing an annual energy and water report through Portfolio Manager. If the data is complete before you submit your report, the order in which you enter data is flexible.

See the Boston Energy Reporting How-to Guide for more detail on submitting your report.

How do you submit a report?

Companies are required to submit their reports through the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, which is an online tool you can use to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Use it to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings, all in a secure online environment.

What does is the Energy Star Portfolio Manager do?

The Energy Star Portfolio Manager, which is an online tool you can use to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Use it to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings, all in a secure online environment.

Within the portal, users can see a Metric Summary, Property Uses and Use Details, Energy Information (use, utility, utility accounts, etc), Energy Goals, and Design of Property (including usage plan, estimated energy consumption, and/or the target).

Can Patriot help building owners and property managers submit a report through the portal?

The Portfolio Manager allows users to connect and share their profiles with others.

Users can add anyone as a contact, regardless of whether they have a Portfolio Manager account. Sharing can be helpful if the user wants to allow other people to:

  • View their property or help maintain or update information about it (e.g. property use details or meter data).
  • Allow contacts to share property information and reports with any of their connected contacts.
Are there other resources to help submit a report?

There are also other resources in the How-to Guide, which include answers to FAQ and special issues, Portfolio Manager help and training webinars, as well as contact information for any questions regarding compliance with Boston’s reporting ordinance.

How do building owners or property managers view results, make revisions, or follow-up?

You can go to Boston’s energy reporting website and see the compliance status as well as the energy and water performance of covered buildings. This data is also available on the City’s open data portal Analyze Boston.

The data portal allows property managers or owners to follow-up about any revisions, errors, or tenant non-compliance issues.

What does an Energy Action & Assessment Include?

When you complete an Energy Action ways, it should include an institutional master plan for the building and a corresponding energy management plan. The institution must also show an overall energy use or greenhouse gas emissions reduction of at least 15 percent over 5 years.

We compare the energy data for your building over the previous five years. To complete a report, you must either improve your Energy Star rating by at least 15 points or show one of the following improvements over the five-year time:

  • Energy usage
  • Energy use intensity
  • Annual greenhouse gas emissions, excluding changes to the electricity grid, or
  • Greenhouse gas intensity, excluding changes to the electricity grid.

You can also undertake a combination of the actions listed above.

How does a company submit an Energy Action & Assessment?

To show that a building is compliant, an online report must be completed and submitted it to the City and include all the supporting documents that are requested. A qualified energy professional must certify the report. Energy Action Report Form

What are the requirements properties need to meet?

To comply, buildings must demonstrate that they are highly efficient, have achieved significant reductions in carbon emissions, or have performed an energy audit.
There are three main pathways to meet the energy action and assessment requirement.

  • Get your building certified as highly efficient, for example through LEED, Energy Star, or zero-net-energy certified.
  • Complete energy efficiency or renewable energy projects that reduce buildings’ energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions by 15% in a five-year term.
  • Complete an energy assessment or audit by a qualified professional. The audit must provide specific recommendations to reduce the building’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

For buildings that were first covered by BERDO starting in 2015, such as residential buildings greater than 50,000 sq ft, or 50 residential units, this energy action or energy assessment report is due in 2019.

How can benchmarks be achieved?

There are many ways to achieve these benchmarks through:

  • Energy efficiency improvements
  • On-site renewable energy projects
  • Off-site renewable energy purchases

If you are looking for ways to achieve the 15 percent or 15-point goal, consider these options for your building:

  • Building upgrades or changes in operations
  • Install renewable energy on-site
  • Maintenance
  • Behavior
  • Buy energy from sources off-site
What are the due dates for properties to submit?

The city of Boston provides a list of properties required to submit an Energy Action and Assessment and their Energy Action and Assessment Due Dates, which depend on when the date of their first Year they Submitted a Report.

New buildings must report their EEAs five years after their first data report, but for most buildings, the due dates for this Energy Action and Assessment (EAA) requirements are:

  • May 15, 2019 – Non-residential buildings 50,000 sf or larger. First-year of BERDO reporting in 2014.
  • May 15, 2020 – Residential buildings 50,000 sf or 50 units and larger. First-year of reporting to BERDO in 2015.
  • May 15, 2021 – Non-residential buildings 35,000 sf or larger. First-year of reporting to BERDO in 2016.
  • May 15, 2022 – Residential buildings 35,000 sf or 35 units or larger. First-year of reporting to BERDO in 2017.
Does Boston offer an extension?

Your Energy Action dude date is based on your fifth year BERDO submission to judge whether you have met these requirements or not. You can request an extension, which only lasts for six months after the May 15 deadline. It is also required that your building must show compliance through another pathway. You can email energyreporting@boston.gov to request an extension.

What happens if a building does not comply?

Failure to comply with the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance can be subject to a Notice of Violation and subsequent fines.

Are There Any Other Resources Available?

You can a list of other helpful resources on our BERDO Resources page, which includes, links to pages provided by the city of Boston about BERDO, more information on BERDO, help tools provided by the City of Boston, and other links you may need.

 

 

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