With more and more cities and states adopting Energy Use Index (EUI) requirements, the popularity of the ASHRAE Building Energy Quotient (bEQ) voluntary building energy labeling program has been growing. While independent of other rating systems, it actually complements those existing green building and energy rating and labeling programs.
The bEQ label, which is normalized for various climate conditions in the U.S., offers building owners another way to compare their building’s performance with similar buildings. It also provides actionable information that helps the owner and manager in several ways:
- Understand how the building is designed to perform
- See how the building actually performs
- Suggest energy efficiency improvements with estimated cost and payback
- Enhance the building’s performance, profitability and value
When it was first rolled out, the ASHRAE bEQ score for buildings offered only an In Operation rating. This rating works great for buildings that were built - or renovated - with energy efficiency in mind, and have been operating that way for at least a year. Builders, however, may want to know - and promote - their building’s bEQ score before they begin leasing space so they can use a high score as marketing leverage.
Designed to educate building owners and their current and potential tenants, a bEQ rating also promotes high performance building operation and maintenance practices. In addition, a building owner can determine a building's potential energy efficiency with an As Designed evaluation. For the last year, the As Designed rating has only been available for a limited number of buildings, but upcoming changes will expand that to all 48 building types currently available for the In Operation rating. Procedures are also being updated and improved for In Operation ratings which apply to buildings in operation for at least 12 months.
Improvements to the In Operation rating include inclusion of high-rise residential buildings. Future improvements will also include the option to rate a multiple-use building, campus, and a water usage operational worksheet.
The As Designed rating uses energy modeling and final construction drawings to predict how a building should perform under standardized conditions. It calculates a score irrespective of occupant behavior and operating hours. Once construction is completed, a qualified professional needs to verify the as-built conditions before the building can receive final rating documentation and approval. Existing buildings can apply for an As Designed rating as well as the In Operation rating.
bEQ ratings rely on ASHRAE methodologies and standards as well as the experience of qualified practitioners. A set of very specific assessments and worksheets must be submitted. This ensures that owners receive reliable and consistent results and recommendations. Instructions on how to complete the bEQ worksheets are included in the workbooks. Additional “how-tos” for completing documents will be available on the bEQ website soon. Only professionals with the following certifications can provide this assessment:
- Building Energy Assessment Professional (BEAP) or Professional Engineer* (PE) for In Operation assessment. As before, an In Operation assessment includes an ASHRAE Level 1 Energy Audit.
- Building Energy Modeling Professional (BEMP) or Professional Engineer* (PE) for an As Designed assessment.
In short, bEQ helps building owners and managers focus resources to provide the greatest return. For more information, visit the bEQ dedicated web site, and watch this video. Find a qualified professional by name or location here.
*PEs must be licensed in the jurisdiction of the buildings’ location.