By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW
Public and private-sector building owners within the City of St. Louis have 12 months remaining of a 36-month deadline to prepare their facilities’ action plans with regard to smart energy usage.
Under the conditions of a Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS) ordinance passed by the St. Louis Board of Alderman in 2020 and signed by former Mayor Lyda Krewson, all buildings totaling 50,000 square feet or more are required to benchmark their energy usage and work toward improving that score. Beginning in 2024, analysis and evaluation of buildings’ total energy usage will occur. In 2025, a modest fine-based enforcement will begin. The program will continue forward on a five-year cycle – three years to make energy efficiency improvements, one year of analysis/evaluation and one year of enforcement for those structures who don’t achieve their mandated improvement requirements.
Chris Ruth, mid-Missouri controls manager in the building automation division at Integrated Facility Services, serves as a board member for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Missouri Gateway Chapter. Ruth says that although the city’s fines aren’t steep, building owners who do not meet their required improvement levels could also be affected in terms of occupancy and construction permits.
“St. Louis is the 4th city in the U.S. to sign these standards into law and the first city in the Midwest to adopt them in a concerted effort to mandate significant reductions in building energy use,” Ruth said. “It’s an overall approach toward being more energy conscious. Nationwide, buildings use 40 percent of total energy consumption, with 40 percent of that consumed by heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment. Making buildings more affordable through energy efficiency measures, and in turn making utility costs more affordable – particularly with under-performing buildings in underserved areas – is the focus on these energy standards.”
For more details on St. Louis’ BEPS, see https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/public-safety/building/building-energy-improvement-board/documents/beps-ordinance.cfm.