How Does BERDO Impact Boston Commercial Properties?

If you own commercial property in Boston, you’ve probably heard the term BERDO. Perhaps you’ve tucked away the acronym for future consideration, or maybe you haven’t yet heard the term at all. The fact is, it’s time to put BERDO on your radar so you can begin making changes now. Especially since there are important deadlines approaching and many of them come with hefty noncompliance fines (as much as $1,000 per day).

The Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) is an ordinance enacted by the City of Boston which requires Boston’s large- and medium-sized buildings to report their annual energy and water usage. It also requires buildings to complete a major energy assessment and conduct energy savings action every five years. As of 2020, BERDO requires certain Boston properties to report their annual energy and water usage for the time period of January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019. This data becomes the baseline for future reporting and evaluation.

BERDO energy benchmarking reports are public. This not only enables building owners, and potential buyers, to see how a property’s performance compares to buildings of similar size and age, it also earns the property an ENERGY STAR® performance score. Buildings that do not receive an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher must undergo an energy audit at the owner’s expense.

The Boston.gov website states, “Buildings account for over seventy percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Boston. The Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) makes building owners, tenants, and other stakeholders more aware of their energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions and opportunities to reduce both. It also requires the City to make this data public. 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.”

Decarbonizing Boston’s building sector requires transitioning to zero net carbon (ZNC) for new construction by 2030 and retrofitting and electrifying at least 80 percent of Boston’s existing buildings over the next 30 years.

Which Boston Properties Are Covered by BERDO?

The ordinance states that the following Boston businesses must comply with BERDO:

  • Nonresidential buildings that are 35,000 square feet or larger.
  • Residential buildings that are 35,000 square feet or larger or have 35 or more units.
  • Any parcel with multiple buildings that sum to 100,000 square feet or 100 units.

Click here to see a list of specific properties by address – as provided by Boston.gov..

How Can a Property Comply with BERDO?

Reporting must demonstrate that properties are becoming more highly efficient, have achieved significant, measurable reductions in carbon emissions, or are complying through an assessment program.

After five years of being covered by BERDO, and every five years thereafter, buildings must also report the ways they are improving their energy performance. Property owners can achieve compliance by:

  • Reducing energy usage
  • Decreasing reliance on fossil fuels
  • Getting an energy assessment
  • Adhering to reporting requirements

BERDO is in place to spur action in Boston’s largest buildings to help property owners reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money on their energy bills, and assist the City in meeting its Carbon Free by 2050 climate goal.

Getting Started with BERDO

  1. Get your property certified as highly efficient – through LEED, ENERGY STAR, or zero-net energy certified.
  2. Complete energy efficiency or renewable energy projects that reduce your property’s energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions by at least 15% in a five-year Term.
  3. Conduct an energy assessment or audit by a qualified professional. The audit must include specific recommendations for reducing a building’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions

Boston.gov provides a BERDO Handbook for Boston commercial properties. Click here to download the Boston Energy Reporting How-To Guide

Need assistance designing a roadmap to energy efficiency, Usource can help. Usource is part of the NextEra Energy family of companies. NextEra Energy, Inc. is the world’s largest producer of wind and solar energy. As part of NextEra Energy, Usource is uniquely positioned to analyze, facilitate and execute renewable energy projects, identify inefficiencies and provide practical solutions to achieve compliance and energy cost savings.

Resources:

Boston.gov: Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance

Contact us today about BERDO requirements

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About the author

Lisa Cochran

Lisa brings extensive energy procurement, utility account management, and consultative experience to Usource.  As a Client Development Manager at Usource, Lisa works with mid to large-size companies to develop energy procurement and management strategies that meet their financial goals and environmental objectives. 

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