As a result of an August roundtable discussion at the White House on extending the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Challenge (BBC) to the multifamily sector, the Administration indicated that changes will be made to address a number of program hurdles raised by industry participants during the meeting.
For example, in response to concerns about the widespread availability of whole building energy consumption data and the effect that would have on multifamily firms achieving the program’s goal of a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption across participating firms’ portfolios in a decade, the Administration suggested that the U.S. Department of Energy will develop a sampling methodology for energy consumption that could be used until the time that whole building data is available.
In addition, changes have been made to address some of the issues created by the 10-year timeline. Owners are now permitted to roll the clock back three years to establish the baseline figure for the portfolio’s energy consumption and, in the process, capture the energy savings that have accrued as a result of improvements that may have already been made. In an effort to address the fluid nature of portfolios and the fact that many owners do not hold a property for 10 years, the federal partners also have suggested that portfolios with high building turnover (typically greater than five percent of total committed square feet per year, on average) may track the average annual percent improvement across their portfolio, rather than their cumulative percent improvement since a baseline period. Participants will commit to achieving at least two percent average annual improvement, which is consistent with 20 percent improvement over 10 years.
The launch of the program has been affected by the October government shutdown but is anticipated for sometime in November. Additional information on the program is available from Maria Vargas at Maria.Vargas@ee.doe.gov.
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