Toward More Energy-Efficient Buildings

A New Performance Standard Takes Shape

People live and work and shop at 245 Park Avenue, a 48-floor skyscraper in midtown Manhattan, one of many dotting the city’s skyline. The Park Avenue building also became New York City’s largest property sale last year at over $2.2 billion (USD).

As part of the sale process and the details associated with it, a firm conducting the property condition assessment, or PCA, looked at the building from bottom to top and all the systems in between, as well as recent site improvements, using an ASTM International physical condition assessment (PCA) standard. They also audited the building’s energy performance — referring to different regulatory requirements in different states as well as what it takes to receive an Energy Star label for a building.

But unlike the general PCA, no standards currently guide the conduct of building energy performance assessments, and groups that take on this task differ in their approaches. A recently formed task force in the ASTM International committee on environmental assessment, risk management, and corrective action (E50) is beginning to change that.

Leading the effort is Anthony Buonicore, P.E., chairman of Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, and an ASTM International member for almost 30 years. “There’s nothing out there on building energy performance screening — no standard, and the industry is in dire need of such a standard,” Buonicore says. “Development of such a standard is a key goal of our task force.”

Energy Performance Gains Traction

Building energy performance has been gaining importance and is gathering momentum in commercial real estate transactions.
“Growth in building energy performance disclosure legislation hasn’t been piecemeal; it has been a wave moving across the country,” says Buonicore. “A few years ago, 10 U.S. cities had such legislation. Now it exists in 24 cities, a number of counties and two states, with more coming.” The end result of this legislation is to penalize less energy-efficient buildings.

Read the full article, which appears in the May/June 2018 issue of Standardization News.