BERDO 2.0: Understanding the Challenges CRE Professionals Face

By Bobby Elliott, Business Development Executive, Haworth and Member of the CoreNet New England Education Committee

The Real Advantage Committee hosts invitation-only workshops and dinners for CoreNet New England Corporate Partners and Founders Circle Sponsors. They focus on timely topics and provide exclusive and unique knowledge-sharing opportunities via one-on-one networking and relationship development.

I had the privilege of attending the Real Advantage webinar and dinner, which covered the topic of BERDO 2.0. Through this passionate discussion, I learned that the CRE community needs to pay close attention to this topic and ensure their voices are heard. Here are my key takeaways from the discussion:

The Regulation:

Building on its predecessor, the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO), the BERDO 2.0 regulations aim to amplify efforts to reduce energy consumption, increase energy efficiency, and advance renewable energy adoption within Boston. These regulations expand the scope and ambition of the original ordinance, setting forth a roadmap for Boston's transition to a low-carbon future. Highlights of BERDO 2.0 include creating a deadline for action, reducing the building size requirement for those who must participate, and changing the goal from “Energy Reduction” to “Emissions Reduction.”

BERDO Requirements Comparison

Timeline and Ambitious Goals:

BERDO 2.0 establishes a comprehensive timeline with ambitious goals to be achieved by 2050 and fines starting in 2025. The regulations outline a phased approach, giving building owners limited time to transition to more sustainable practices. By 2050, the goal is net-zero carbon emissions. This long-term vision sets Boston on a trajectory toward a sustainable future and spearheads global efforts to combat climate change.

Fines as a Catalyst for Change:

Starting in 2025, BERDO 2.0 will enforce fines on non-compliant buildings, serving as a catalyst for change. This financial incentive encourages property owners to invest in energy-efficient upgrades, adopt renewable energy sources, and reduce their carbon emissions. Fines will be based on variables such as year, building size, emissions limit etc. For many, these fines will be tough to avoid overtime unless action is taken today.

Emissions Limit Per Year

Comprehensive Survey Process:

How do you know where your building stands? Most new construction is set to be built under compliance; however, all our existing buildings do not have the same luxury. To understand the current state of emissions in buildings and develop effective strategies for improvement, BERDO 2.0 incorporates a comprehensive survey process. Building owners must report energy and water usage, emissions, and other relevant data through the city's reporting platform. Data management will be key to complying with these new regulations.

Sample Emissions Calculation

Transitioning to Electric Energy:

One of the key aspects of BERDO 2.0 is the transition to electric energy. The regulations promote adopting electric heating and cooling systems and appliances. By shifting away from fossil fuel-based systems, Boston aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and support the growth of renewable energy sources.

This portion of the topic peaked discussion, including a question, “is regulation and legislation ahead of technology?”. I thought about this statement for a while. When do we think an all-electric grid will be truly feasible to support major cities?

With BERDO 2.0, Boston showcases its commitment to combatting climate change and fostering a sustainable future. Buildings in urban cities contribute 70-75% of C02 gas emissions, making our community a target for change. This topic helps us prioritize energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and promote renewable energy. Through these transformative regulations, Boston pushes itself as a leader in sustainable urban development and challenges the local CRE community to make big strides in the fight against climate change.

Thank you to the Real Advantage Committee, Laurie Boehl of PES Associates, and Elizabeth Larsen and Ciaran Smyth of Bala Consulting Engineers leading this great discussion. Interested in Real Advantage programs? Consider becoming a Corporate Partner or Founders Circle Sponsor. You can learn more about BERDO on the City of Boston’s website