As fighting climate change takes on increasing urgency, fanned most recently by wildfires in California, building performance standards (BPS) are garnering increasing attention around the U.S. Washington, DC adopted the first BPS in January followed closely by New York City and Washington State. IMT pioneered the concept and is now working with over a dozen jurisdictions that are considering BPS, including Boston and Saint Louis.

So, what is a building performance standard?

IMT recently released a two-page fact sheet to start this discussion, but let’s break it down here. 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. BPS apply 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.

Why does a BPS matter in the fight against climate change?

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