Building Innovation Hub Logo

Final BEPS Compliance and Enforcement Guidebook

An overview of what you need to know.


On February 22, 2023 the DC Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) published Version 1.1 of the Building Energy Performance Standards Compliance Guidebook, which provides specific instruction and details for Compliance Cycle 1.

Version 1.0 of the guidebook, initially published on March 23, 2022, is available under Development History in the Online BEPS Portal.  An update log covering major changes and a redline version documenting changes from Version 1.0 to 1.1 are also available at the same link.

What’s in the guidebook?

The Guidebook should be used by building owners who have determined that their building did not meet the Standard for its property type and must complete the requirements of a Compliance Pathway. It will help readers in understanding the requirements of the BEPS, compliance methods, and enforcement of the BEPS Program.

The Guidebook is organized as follows:

  • Chapter 2 – Compliance process and change of ownership requirements
  • Chapter 3 – Principal Compliance Pathways
  • Chapter 4 – Alternative Compliance Pathway options
  • Chapter 5 – Delay of compliance process
  • Chapter 6 – Enforcement process

Note: Cycle 1 was extended by one year to become a six-year time period due to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). This extension was automatically granted to all buildings that do not meet the BEPS. The information in this article, and deadlines referenced, are specifically for buildings who are remaining in this extended, six-year Compliance Cycle. Any building owner wishing to opt out of the COVID-19 PHE delay should contact DOEE to be entered into a five-year time period that would end on December 31, 2025 and shall refer to the Guidebook for deadlines associated with that selection.

Chapter 2 – Compliance Cycle Process

If a building fails to meet the Standard for its property type at the beginning of the BEPS Period, the building enters a Compliance Cycle, where the building owner must select and complete the requirements of a Compliance Pathway by the end of the Cycle.

The general process of compliance is the same no matter which Pathway a building owner chooses: 1) select a Pathway, 2) improve the building’s performance, and 3) demonstrate improvements through benchmarking and compliance with the selected Pathway. DOEE evaluates the building against the Pathway’s requirements to determine if compliance was achieved and if not, the building will be subject to a penalty.

The Compliance Process

Chapter 3 – Principal Compliance Pathways

There are three Principal Compliance Pathways for the BEPS Program:

  • Performance. Evaluation is performance-based. Buildings must reduce site EUI by 20%
  • Standard Target Pathway. Evaluation is performance-based. Buildings must reach the Standard (i.e. the median ENERGY STAR score or Source EUI) for the building’s property type.
  • Prescriptive. Evaluation is action-based. Buildings must meet interim reporting deadlines, implement measures, and complete reporting.

See Chapter 4 for information on the Alternative Compliance Pathway (ACP) for unique situations or ambitious goals.

Performance Pathway

Standard Target Pathway

Prescriptive Pathway

Chapter 4 – Alternative Compliance Pathway (ACP) Options

There are multiple forms an ACP can take, and the final requirements will be specified in the ACP Decision Letter (detailed in Section 4.1). DOEE has outlined a number of options that building owners may propose to use for the ACP and DOEE will readily approve. This chapter provides guidance and further explanation of DOEE’s policy related to the ACP options.

This chapter is divided into sections based on the ACP options. As a default, buildings will use the baseline years of CY2018-2019 and an evaluation year of CY2026 unless the Pathway energy performance requirements are evaluated over multiple Compliance Cycles.

Alternative Compliance Pathway (ACP)

Chapter 5 – Delay of Compliance

If a building owner needs additional time to meet a Pathway’s energy performance requirements that extends beyond the end of the Compliance Cycle, it must obtain DOEE approval of a delay to avoid an alternative compliance penalty. This chapter provides further guidance on the eligibility criteria, how to apply for a delay, and how DOEE will evaluate applications.

Delays. A building owner can request a delay and must demonstrate the infeasibility to meet the energy performance requirements at the end of a Compliance Cycle is due to one or more of the specific circumstances. Delays of up to three (3) years may be granted. Qualifying affordable housing building owners are eligible for more than three (3) years of delay. Delays will not change the start of the following BEPS Period or new Compliance Cycle. DOEE will not automatically approve requests for delays, may not grant the duration requested, or may also establish conditions for the approved delay.

Extensions. If a building owner needs additional time to meet interim reporting or verification deadline, the owner may request an extension (Section 2.2).

Delays of Compliance

Chapter 6 – Enforcement

Mechanisms to promote compliance include:

  • An alternative compliance penalty, for failure to meet the energy performance requirements of a building’s approved Pathway at the end of a Compliance Cycle. See Section 6.1.
  • Civil infractions for not meeting required, interim reporting deadlines or requirements. See Section 6.2


linkedin facebook twitter

Questions or Feedback?