City of Chicago Accepts BEAP Credential Holders to Verify Data for Benchmarking and Transparency Ordinance

The city of Chicago now recognizes the ASHRAE-certified Building Energy Assessment Professional (BEAP) as a data verifier credential under the city’s new Energy Benchmarking Ordinance. As a result, BEAP credential holders are eligible to provide professional verification of data for the new benchmarking and transparency ordinance.

“ASHRAE commends the city of Chicago for the commitment to improving building performance demonstrated by adoption of the Energy Benchmarking Ordinance and is very pleased that the Building Energy Assessment Professional certification is one of the first credentials to be recognized for the provision of services it requires,” ASHRAE President Bill Bahnfleth said. “BEAPs have demonstrated their ability to audit and analyze residential, commercial and industrial building energy use, including determining project scope, collecting data, analyzing building performance, interpreting results, evaluating alternatives, submitting recommendations for energy conservation measures and assisting with the implementation of these recommendations. Our BEAPS are well-qualified to provide this important service to the citizens of Chicago.”

“The Energy Benchmarking Ordinance is focused on the importance of information to unlock energy efficiency opportunities that will bring down costs for buildings, increase competitiveness and reduce environmental impact,” adds Karen Weigert, chief sustainability officer for the city. “Data verification advances Chicago’s goal of accurate and actionable data on building energy use and helps level the playing field for all buildings.”

In September 2013, the city became the ninth in the U.S. to require that buildings benchmark energy performance and publicly disclose data. The ordinance authorizes the city to disclose building specific information starting in the second year of compliance. Chicago is the only city that requires data to be verified by a licensed professional. Covered buildings are required to have data verified by professionals on the first and every third year after. That information then will be published so building owners can compare their buildings with similar ones.

All buildings over 50,000 square feet, except industrial, are required to comply with the ordinance. Some 3,500 buildings are covered, including multifamily residential. While this is less than 1 percent of all buildings in Chicago, it represents 20 percent of the energy consumed annually by buildings.

Professionals holding the Building Energy Assessment Professional certification also qualify to perform In Operations ratings for ASHRAE’s Building Energy Quotient (bEQ) program. This building energy labeling program allows the industry to zero in on opportunities to lower building operating cost and make informed decisions to increase value.

The program is two labels in one: an As Designed label that rates the building’s potential energy use under standardized conditions—independent of the building’s occupancy and usage—and an In Operation label that rates the building’s actual measured energy use as influenced by the building’s occupancy and usage.

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