My name is Lindsey Falasca, Director of DC’s new Building Innovation Hub. Created with support from the administration of Mayor Muriel Bowser and the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), the Hub is a new entity which will support the commercial real estate community in meeting the new Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS), achieving the District’s green building and climate goals, and more broadly, making high-performance buildings the new normal in the building industry.
One of the main goals of the Hub is to be responsive to current building industry needs while simultaneously helping people think through the longer-term impact of today’s decisions. Our team interviewed dozens of local building industry groups and commercial real estate professionals about what they need to comply with BEPS and push for high-performing buildings to become “business-as-usual.” These stakeholders not only informed what the Hub offers, but many have contributed their expertise to developing and refining our resources.
We’re launching at a difficult, but critical juncture in real estate decision-making. The decisions being made today will affect the District’s buildings, businesses, and occupants for years to come. We can choose to recover from this pandemic by making long-term choices that not only better protect occupant health, but also reduce energy and operating costs in a way that sets up building owners and operators for future compliance with BEPS regulations. On our site, you’ll find an suite of resources and tools based on the feedback we heard, and we will continue to update these over time as we receive additional insight into what’s needed.
We understand there are numerous and often competing requirements for buildings and their owners. Our role at the Hub is to tie the pieces together to help building owners and operators make informed, comprehensive decisions that consider various implications.
What makes the Hub unique is its focus on connecting practitioners across a building’s lifecycle. Traditionally, the various roles that affect a building’s design, construction, and operations, are disjointed, often only connecting for quick handoffs at a building’s intervention points. We are focused on helping people connect and better understand how their roles interact to create a best-in-class building that returns benefits far into the future.
Our tools acknowledge and accommodate immediate needs while guiding industry professionals towards longer-term strategy. The offerings I’m most excited to share with you include:
- Building industry playbook. Broken down by professional role, this provides a play-by-play list of the actions each discipline should undertake to prioritize high-performance buildings in their day-to-day practice and how their role in the building’s lifecycle affects its operational performance.
- Service procurement guide. We want to make it easier for building owners and operators to connect with qualified vendors who can assist with energy efficiency and building performance projects for both their buildings and their business. We do this by highlighting considerations during the entire process, qualifications to look for, opportunities to reach a larger pool of vendors, and ways to use spending power to achieve environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.
- Regulation basics. We dissect the BEPS information available to date, changes to the local building construction codes, and the District’s green building and climate goals, and draw connections between them to understand what the rules and goals mean for the industry. We outline how recently constructed projects are performing against BEPS and how the District’s newly adopted building codes do or do not prepare a building owner for BEPS compliance.
- Funding and financing map. We pooled all available financing opportunities available for the District’s commercial real estate community. Our map allows users to filter and search by what is relevant to them and their projects.
- Local leader profiles. We want to stimulate peer-to-peer competition to encourage market leaders to continue pushing for greater outcomes, which is why we developed market leaderboards and case studies to highlight who in the District is already doing the great work we hope others emulate.
The Hub is a project of the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), and, as such, benefits from IMT’s many years of experience working with both the District government and local market leaders. We will be relying IMT’s expertise as well as my own experience working as a Registered Architect for over a decade in and around DC, to shape the future of the Hub—but most importantly, we need your input to make this a success.
How can we help you?
The Hub exists to support the building industry in the pursuit of high-performing buildings. We endeavor to always be responsive to your needs, and we are looking to the industry for feedback to shape the Hub as we go. Here’s how you can be part of the Hub community: