The City of Boston first enacted BERDO (Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance) in 2013 and, at that time, the legislation focused on having large buildings report their annual energy and water use only. Boston mapped the reported data, which was then made available to the public. In that sense, as its name implied, it was a reporting and disclosure ordinance only. In its second iteration, BERDO 2.0, which takes effect in part this year, it enhances the reporting requirements and, as set forth below, sets carbon emissions thresholds that will decrease every five years (a scheduled reduction in greenhouse gas emissions), beginning in 2025 (now the Building Energy Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance).
Managers and boards of existing BERDO-regulated buildings will need to start planning for how they will comply with BERDO 2.0 in future years.
BERDO 2.0 (like BERDO) impacts new and existing buildings in Boston. If you manage a building with 15+ units in Boston, BERDO 2.0 reporting requirements affect you now. If you manage buildings with 35+ units, those buildings will need to meet certain emission performance standards beginning in 2025; and buildings with 15+ units will need to meet emission performance standards beginning in 2030.
If you don’t know BERDO, here are the basics:
Which buildings must comply with BERDO 2.0 reporting requirements?
• Non-residential buildings over 20,000 square feet;
• Residential Buildings with 15 or more units;
• And/or any parcel with multiple buildings that add up to 20,000 square feet or 15 units.
The list of covered buildings in Boston can be found here.
What are new the BERDO 2.0 reporting requirements?
In addition to reporting certain data, beginning in 2022, all BERDO-regulated buildings must have their energy reports verified by an independent and credentialed third party. To comply with the new third-party verification requirements, BERDO-regulated buildings may need to retain a professional engineer (PE) and/or certified energy manager (CEM) to confirm the reporting data is accurate and complete.
When must BERDO-regulated buildings comply with emission performance standards?
Starting in 2025, residential buildings with more than 35 units will need to meet declining emissions standards. Residential buildings with 15 to 35 units will need to begin reporting energy use in 2022, but they will not be subject to the emissions standards until 2030 (which will be reported in 2031).
What are the emission performance standards?
BERDO 2.0 requires covered buildings not to exceed certain emissions caps. The emission cap will depend on the type of building/building use (i.e. multifamily housing, retail, industrial, etc.). Boston will begin enforcing emission standards in 2025 and, every five years thereafter, the cap decreases. Further regulations specifying how the emissions standard will be calculated will be forthcoming. The regulations presently contemplate that buildings can reduce their emissions by investing in energy efficiency and fuel switching, installing, or purchasing renewable energy, and/or by making alternative compliance payments.
How will BERDO be enforced?
If a building fails to comply the reporting or emission standard requirements, BERDO gives the city the authority to assess fines. The city has suggested, though, that the goal is to achieve compliance, and if a building is not in compliance, it will reach out to building owners to determine what obstacles exist to compliance and how compliance can be achieved and in what timeframe. If a building is non-responsive and/or non-compliance persists, there are strict monetary penalties that can be imposed. We will be monitoring future regulations to see if they will provide for any exemptions or alternate compliance/hardship plans.
What is the status of BERDO 2.0 Regulations?
On March 16, 2022, the Air Pollution Control Commission adopted regulations associated with the BERDO reporting and verification requirements. To implement the BERDO emission reduction standards, the Air Pollution Control Commission (APCC) has been working to review and adopt regulations. This month, the APCC issued draft regulations for public review and comment. Written comments on the draft regulations will be accepted until November 10, 2022, and a public hearing will be held thereafter.
What can BERDO-regulated building managers do before 2025?
Managers and boards of existing BERDO-regulated buildings will need to start planning for how they will comply with BERDO 2.0 in future years. Even newer buildings may find that they have out-of-date systems based on tightening emission requirements in 2030 and beyond. Managers can review energy and emission data to assess present compliance and future performance against upcoming emission caps. BERDO requirements should also be considered if a building is to replace or update its MEP systems or roofing structure – these types of projects may be well-served by contemplating and incorporating upcoming BERDO 2.0 requirements.
Boston’s BERDO regulations are still in progress, and MTM will continue to monitor their development. If you manage a BERDO-regulated building and have questions about the reporting requirements or how to incorporate emission thresholds into your building planning, contact us.