The BIT Building Program commits to launching a framework that drives the adoption of sustainability best practices in existing buildings, leading to measurable improvements in energy, water, and waste impacts. It will do this by promoting a set of 16 proven best practices, standardizing ongoing performance measurement and improvement goals, providing an online clearinghouse to spread implementation tools and build community among novice practitioners, and celebrating the success of operators by recognizing those who deliver verified improvements of 10, 20, or 30% from baseline conditions.
The BIT leadership team is comprised of highly-regarded sustainable real estate professionals with extensive experience delivering sustainability outcomes centered around operations, maintenance, and retrofitting strategies across diverse building portfolios. This team will provide subject matter expertise and technical assistance in finalizing the framework and developing the associated implementation tools, oversee the development of the online clearinghouse for BIT users, deliver training and ongoing support to enrolled building operators, and establish the process for recognizing performance improvement achievements.
Initially, BIT will partner with Chicago-based collaborators to drive early uptake of the framework in that market, with a goal of engaging at least 100 buildings by the end of 2018 to prove out a scalable model that can be adopted by other municipalities. USGBC-Illinois, a non-profit membership driven organization that advances buildings and communities that are sustainable, prosperous and healthy, will be a major partner for recruiting enrollees, coordinating volunteers, and driving awareness of BIT through programming and events targeted to their 700 members. Training scholarships will be provided to women and underserved community members to establish an early foundation of inclusivity. BIT intends to replicate this approach, with other cities that have energy benchmarking disclosure ordinances.
Additional partners will be recruited to promote the program, provide technical assistance to under-resourced buildings, and perform research studies that measure the effect of BIT in contributing to persistent efficiency gains in buildings.
Deliverable 1: Finalize BIT Building Framework Based on Beta User Input
- Solicit and respond to comments from beta users
- Revise best practice and baselining criteria as appropriate
- Produce BIT Building Program Manual and supporting implementation tools
- Establish and oversee third-party validation and recognition process
- Administer other elements of user support, such as hosting monthly conference calls and responding to technical and procedural inquiries from enrollees
Deliverable 2: BIT Building Training Program for Practitioners
- Develop and test deliver half-day training curriculum, for web-based and in-person workshop delivery
- Deliver workshops that reach at least 500 people, including at least 50 scholarship spaces reserved for women
Deliverable 3: Launch online clearinghouse
- Phase 1 web development Provide public-facing introductory content and establish navigational structure
- Produce implementation tools that will be distributed via the clearinghouse
Q4 2016 Q1 2017
- Phase 2 web development Develop website features that serve enrolled BIT projects (registration portal, program document and tools, networking platform, reporting platform, and recognition platform)
- Continue to produce implementation tools
Deliverable 4: Enrollment Campaign Targeting 100 Chicago-area buildings
- Formalize relationship with local partners
- Develop promotional collateral tailored to Chicago market
Q1 2017 - Q3 2018
- Host informational events with portfolio operators
- Provide training to volunteer advocates
- Regularly issue news, updates, and case study details to prospective users
- Provide public and conference presentations
- Orient and support enrolled buildings through the standard approach, with augmented training at tool development as needed
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) attributes 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions to buildings, with the potential to double by 2050. UNEP asserts that investment in building efficiency offers a proven, cost effective path to both climate change mitigation and adaptation, while also delivering health and social benefits and job creation opportunity.
At COP21, the U.S. pledged to reduce its GHG emissions by at least 26% below the 2005 level by 2025. With the US Energy Information Administration reporting that the building sector is responsible for nearly 50% of US CO2 emissions, achieving this commitment will require addressing emissions associated with building operations. According to the United States Building Energy Efficiency Retrofits March 2012 report, opportunity exists to invest more than $279 billion in building efficiency in the US, leading to a projected 10-year cost savings of $1 trillion, employment creation of 3.3 million cumulative job years, and a nearly 10% reduction in US emissions. Municipal- and state-level energy benchmarking and disclosure ordinances are an emergent regulatory mechanism intended to create market forces that help drive volunteer efficiency actions by building owners and operators. The BIT Building Program was created to amplify the effect of such ordinances by expanding the capacity and motivation for building operators, especially in the lowest performing buildings, to take effective performance improvement actions.
BIT seeks to boost the effect of benchmarking ordinances and utility incentive programs by mobilizing non-profits and technical service providers to accelerate the spread of efficiency actions. Chicago will be the focus of an initial enrollment campaign to establish a test case, building upon the coalition of local government representatives, non-profits, and sustainability professionals that spearheaded one of the most successful early implementation phases of an energy benchmarking and disclosure ordinances among larger cities. According to the 2015 Chicago Energy Benchmarking Report, year 1 compliance rates for other cities more typically lands in the 60-75% range, while Chicago hit over 90% in the first year of its reporting cycle when large buildings reports came due, even with the added requirement that properties have a third-party verify the reported data once every three years.