Building Performance Standards - Technical Assistance

Building Performance Standards

Technical Assistance

Building Performance Standards (BPS) are a key policy mechanism to significantly and speedily reduce the energy use and emissions of existing buildings. BPS is primarily being implemented by cities and states, as a means to reach their climate goals.  Policymakers in cities planning a BPS are grappling with a host policy design questions, such as:

  • What metrics should be used?
  • What are the building-level targets needed to meet 2040 goals?
  • What is the impact of exempting certain building types and sizes? 
  • What is the impact of requiring electrification at equipment replacement?
  • How much do different technology packages help meet BPS targets? 
  • What tools are needed for compliance with these policies?

These questions can be addressed through data-driven policy analysis that provide a robust basis for stakeholder decision-making.  Furthermore, there is a need for standardized approaches that will reduce transaction costs for cities as well as portfolio owners that span jurisdictions. 

Berkeley Lab provides technical assistance and develops standardized methods to accelerate BPS in cities and states, in close collaboration with these jurisdictions, advocacy and industry organizations. The policy analysis primarily uses energy epidemiological approaches, combining data from tax records, energy benchmarking ordinances, the Building Performance Database, ComStock, and other data sources. We are also providing technical support to jurisdictions on using software tools usch as SEED to support BPS compliance. 

To date, BTUS researchers have provided or are providing technical assistance to Aspen, Berkeley, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC and the State of Washington. In addition, Berkeley Lab is collaborating with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to support an ASHRAE guide on BPS. 

bps policy analysis workflow


Walter, T., Mathew, P. (2021). GHG policy impacts for Seattle’s buildings: targets, timing, and scope. Buildings and Cities, 2(1), 283–301. DOI:

Bergfeld, K., Mathew, P., Duer-Balkind, M., Perakis, J., Khah, P.N., Walter, T. Held, A. Making Data-Driven Policy Decisions for the Nation’s First Building Energy Performance Standards. ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. August 2020. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.