What is the Building Energy Performance Standard?

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen unanimously passed and Mayor Krewson signed into law, St. Louis’s Building Energy Performance Standard in May of 2020, making St. Louis the 4th jurisdiction in the country and the 1st in the Midwest to adopt this ambitious law to mandate significant reductions in building energy use.

The ordinance covers municipal, commercial, institutional and residential properties 50,000 square feet and larger. By May 2021, the City will set an energy performance standard for each property type based on local benchmarking data. The standards will be set to impact the highest energy users in each property type. Property owners will have the flexibility to decide what combination of physical or operational improvements can best achieve the standard and will have until May 2025 to reduce their energy use to comply. To ensure that building energy use continues to improve over time, the City will update the standards and increase energy performance requirements within a year of the conclusion of each four-year compliance cycle.

How will properties comply?

Properties will comply by meeting the standard set for their property type as measured in site energy use intensity (EUI) normalized for weather-and operating characteristics. Depending on each property’s baseline EUI, a range of steps may need to be taken from simply reporting performance data that shows the building is already in compliance, to investing in energy conservation measures to improve performance or systems changes. The law mandates certain levels of performance, based on property type, but not the means to get there. There are no specific improvements required, which gives property owners and managers the flexibility to make smart investments based on their unique knowledge of property operations, planned expenditures, and financing cycles. It also sets the necessary boundaries for ensuring property owners help St. Louis meets its climate goals

BEPS Compliance Pathways

When do the standards go into effect?

The standards will be set and publicized by May 4, 2021. Most buildings will have four years to meet the standard (May 4, 2025). Qualified affordable housing buildings and houses of worship will have six years to meet the standard (May 4, 2027). One benefit of providing additional time for these building types is to allow owners to wrap energy upgrades into larger improvement projects at the time of mortgage refinance.

What will happen during the rule-making process & what has already been decided?

The law that was passed in April 2020 outlines the schedule and framework for buildings to meet the performance standards. However, the standards (by property type) will be set in the next year (by May 4, 2021). The law calls for the creation of a nine-person Building Energy Improvement Board (BEIB) with representation from the local building industry, utilities, and building owners. This Board, with support from the Buildings Division, will review and approve the standards themselves in addition to supporting the implementation of the ordinance.

How can a building owner get help?

Early action is key to compliance! Start now by comparing your building’s site EUI to those in your peer group. Check out all of the city’s BEPS resources on www.stlbenchmarking.com. The City has collected resources here for building owners interested in making improvements. Other resources include:

  • Ameren Missouri and Spire Energy incentives/ rebates for energy efficiency improvements
  • Set the PACE St. Louis offers financing for energy efficiency improvements that can be paid back with your annual property taxes
  • USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter provides assistance with benchmarking, GPRO Operations & Maintenance training and other educational programming
  • The City is creating an Office of Building Performance to assist with compliance in 2021
  • Stay tuned for a Regional Energy Resource Hub in 2021 that will be available to assist building owners
  • Check out this Energy Efficiency Checklist that outlines energy solutions and resources

What can I do now?

  • Double-check your benchmarking data in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
  • Get an on-site energy audit to understand building characteristics, resiliency, equipment, and energy use.
  • Identify energy conservation measures.
  • Create an internal team to start your planning & implementation strategies.
  • Develop a strategic energy management plan now.
  • Engage with your building tenants.