In 2013 the City of Boston enacted the Boston Building Energy Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance (“BERDO”), requiring all buildings of more than 35,000 square feet or more than 35 residential units to report energy and water usage. In October 2021, Acting Mayor Kim Janey signed an amendment to BERDO, or BERDO 2.0 (BERDO 2.0), which requires significant reductions in carbon emissions at many buildings. The major implications of BERDO 2.0, as well as some of its draft regulations, are discussed below.
BERDO 2.0 requires any building of more than 20,000 square feet or more than 15 residential units, or any single parcel with multiple buildings that cumulatively have more than 20,000 square feet or more than 15 residential units, to reduce carbon emissions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Under the ordinance, all applicable buildings and parcels must file a report of their 2021 energy and water usage by May 15, 2022. Building owners may apply for a one-time six-month extension to this reporting deadline. Detailed regulations regarding the reporting requirements, third-party data verification requirements, and preservation of records have been drafted as “Phase 1” of the regulations and will be finalized in the next few months.
In addition, starting in 2025, buildings with more than 35,000 square feet or more than 35 residential units will need to meet Carbon Dioxide Equivalent emission standards that decline in five-year increments. Beginning in 2030, buildings with more than 20,000 square feet or more than 15 residential units will need to meet the same declining emission standards. Carbon Dioxide Equivalent emission means greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. These standards vary depending on the type of building use, and will be calculated using a methodology set forth in the regulations that are to be promulgated in the near future.
Affected buildings may mitigate carbon emissions from electricity use in a number of ways. They may purchase unbundled Renewable Energy Certificates; enter into Power Purchase Agreements for Energy generated by renewable non-emitting fuel sources; or make Alternative Compliance Payments, initially set at $234 per metric ton of carbon.
Failure to comply with the reporting requirements of BERDO 2.0 can result in daily fines of $150 to $300 depending on size of the property. Failure to comply with emission standards can result in daily fines of $300 to $1,000.
If you believe your Boston property may be subject to BERDO 2.0, please reach out to Adam Braillard at email@example.com, or a member of the Prince Lobel Renewable Energy team, to answer any questions about the ordinance.