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  • Amber Wirth, HKS Inc.

Call for Survey Responses: What will it take to get net zero energy (NZE) for existing buildings in

Reducing the energy footprint of the building sector has become poignant in our ongoing efforts to mitigate climate change. It is not only enough to reduce our consumption, but we must strive to create as much energy as we consume, achieving a ‘zero net energy’ status. The building sector is the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in the District, almost three times as compared to transportation and waste combined (source: Climate Ready DC). The Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018 sets a Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) for existing buildings. By 2021 this new legislation requires all privately-owned commercial and multifamily buildings greater than 25K sf to publicly disclose their benchmarking results and establishes a minimum threshold for energy performance for existing buildings of at least the local median Energy Star score by building type. The city is targeting net zero new construction by 2026 and 100% renewable sources of energy by 2032 on the path to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Within this context, the existing building stock poses a greater challenge given the limited possibilities for substantial measures, both in terms of reducing consumption and generating energy.

HKS is conducting a research project to understand What It Will Take to meet the current legislation and ultimately to get to net zero for existing buildings in DC using our office building as a case study. This study considers the current legislation and future plans in DC, local case studies, and typical and leading edge energy conservation measures for existing buildings. We plan to analyze suitable strategies as part of a whole building energy model, with an intent to provide a range of solutions and cost information to get as close to net zero as possible. This research will be shared broadly as we prepare for this shift that will affect at least 50% of the existing building stock in DC initially.

Please consider contributing to this research through a survey. Respondents who complete the survey by this Friday, July 12 will have a chance to earn a free ticket to A Midsummer Night’s Green for participating.


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