ASTM E3224 - 19

    Standard Guide for Building Energy Performance and Improvement Evaluation in the Assessment of Property Condition

    Active Standard ASTM E3224 | Developed by Subcommittee: E50.02

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.05


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 Uses—This guide is intended for use on a voluntary basis by parties who wish to conduct a BEPIE. The process defined in this guide involves: (1) the collection of building and equipment information, including whole building energy consumption, much of which is typically collected as part of an E2018 PCA; (2) weather-normalizing the whole building energy consumption to obtain an EUI; (3) benchmarking the EUI to compare against the EUI of peer buildings; and (4) determining if the building’s EUI is under-performing compared to the EUI of peer buildings. If the building’s EUI is under-performing, the guide (1) evaluates the extent to which the building is under-performing; (2) provides guidance on what energy efficiency improvements might be made to bring the building to the performance level of its peers; and (3) provides guidance to obtain a probable cost for these energy efficiency improvements. The guide is intended principally as an approach to conducting a standardized building energy performance inquiry in connection with commercial real estate involved in a commercial real estate transaction with the intent to identify a condition of EUI under-performance compared to peer buildings. The guide provides for two approaches: a Screening Assessment (SA) that may be conducted, for example, as an adjunct to an E2018 PCA during due diligence prior to an acquisition, and a More Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) that would include more rigorous investigation as may, for example, be conducted by a building owner seeking to make an investment in EEMs. This guide is intended to reflect a commercially practical and reasonable inquiry.

    4.2 Clarifications on Use: 

    4.2.1 Use in Conjunction with an E2018 PCA—This guide, when added as a supplemental scope of work to an E2018 PCA, is designed to assist the user and Consultant in developing information about energy consumption and energy efficiency improvements that may be undertaken to reduce energy consumption in a building involved in a commercial real estate transaction. The guide also has utility to a wide range of situations, including those that may not involve a commercial real estate transaction. The guide is not intended to replace an E2018 PCA, but rather to supplement it.

    4.2.2 Independent Use—This guide may also be used independently of any other building or property condition assessment.

    4.2.3 Site-Specific—This guide is site and property-specific in that it relates to an existing building’s or property’s energy performance.

    4.3 Who May Conduct—A BEPIE should be performed by a qualified Consultant or individual (hereafter referred to as the “Consultant”) with the education, training and experience necessary to perform the requirements of this guide (refer to 8.6). No practical approach can be designed to eliminate the role of professional judgment and the value and need for experience in the individual performing the inquiry. The professional experience of the Consultant is, consequently, important to the performance of a BEPIE.

    4.4 Additional Services—Additional services not included within the scope of this guide may be contracted for between the user and the Consultant (refer to 13.1 – 13.2). For example, the user or Consultant may also wish to apply for LEED® or ENERGY STAR® certification.

    4.5 Principles—The following principles are an integral part of this guide and are intended to be referred to in resolving any ambiguity or exercising such discretion as is accorded the user or Consultant in performing a BEPIE.

    4.5.1 Uncertainty is not eliminated—No BEPIE standard can wholly eliminate uncertainty in determining the myriad of variables that can impact the energy consumption of a building on a property and the energy savings that might be realized by making energy efficiency improvements. The BEPIE is intended to reduce, but not eliminate, uncertainty regarding the impact of such variables.

    4.5.2 Assessment is not exhaustive—This guide is not meant to be an exhaustive assessment. There is a point at which the cost of the information obtained or the time required to gather it outweighs the usefulness of the information and, in fact, may be a material detriment to the orderly completion of a commercial real estate transaction. One of the purposes of this guide is to identify a balance between the competing goals of limiting the costs and time demands inherent in performing a BEPIE and the reduction of uncertainty about unknown conditions resulting from collecting additional information.

    4.5.3 Level of inquiry is variable—Not every building will warrant the same level of assessment. The appropriate level of assessment should be guided by the type and complexity of the property being evaluated, the needs of the user, and the information already available or developed in the course of the inquiry.

    4.6 Rules of Engagement—The contractual and legal obligations between a Consultant and a user (and other parties, if any) are outside the scope of this guide. No specific legal relationship between the Consultant and user was considered during the preparation of this guide.

    1. Scope

    1.1 Purpose—The purpose of this guide is to define a commercially useful standard in the United States of America for incorporating building energy performance into an assessment of existing property condition, and specifically into a property condition assessment (PCA) on a building involved in a commercial real estate transaction. The guide is intended to provide a methodology for the user to identify building energy under-performance compared to peer buildings. If the building is under-performing compared to its peers, a methodology is provided to identify potential energy performance improvements and provide a probable cost for such improvements. The guide may be used independently or as a voluntary supplement to ASTM Guide E2018 PCA. Utilization of this guide and incorporating it into a PCA is voluntary. If the property owner is unwilling or unable to provide building energy consumption information and it is not possible to develop a reasonable estimate of building energy consumption, the methodology defined by this guide cannot be performed.

    1.2 Building Energy Performance and Improvement Evaluation (BEPIE)—the process as described in this guide by which a person collects, analyzes and reports on a building’s energy consumption, compares it to peer buildings and determines if the building is under-performing. If the building is under-performing, potential major improvements (energy efficiency measures, EEMs) that may reduce building energy consumption to achieve parity with peer buildings are identified and a probable cost is provided. Building energy performance as defined by this guide involves the collection of annual whole building energy consumption for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, and other related energy-consuming end-uses. Building energy consumption, for example, includes total electricity used at the building; purchased or delivered steam, hot water, or chilled water to the building; natural gas, fuel oil, propane, biomass, or any other matter consumed as fuel at the building. Annual whole building energy consumption in kBTU/yr is weather-normalized and converted to energy use intensity (EUI, kBTU/SF-yr), and then benchmarked against weather-normalized energy consumption in peer buildings. If the building consumes more energy than peer buildings, it is assumed to be under-performing. For under-performing buildings, the methodology provided in this guide identifies potential energy improvements and associated costs that may be able to bring the building to parity with peers. If electricity is generated on site from renewable/alternative energy systems (for example, solar photovoltaic systems, wind energy generator technology, fuel cells, or microturbines), the electricity produced is considered energy savings and is netted against building energy requirements with the purpose of reducing building EUI. The assessment conducted for the BEPIE may be a Screening Assessment (SA) that might be conducted in due diligence prior to building acquisition, or a More Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) that might be conducted by the owner of a building who may have had an SA conducted prior to acquiring the building. A BEPIE as performed according to this guide is building- and site-specific. For multifamily type property, the BEPIE is property-specific where a property may include multiple buildings. For such cases, data from the multiple buildings are aggregated prior to analysis.

    1.3 Objectives—Objectives in the development of this guide are to: (1) define a commercially useful guide for incorporating building energy performance into the assessment of existing property condition as part of due diligence associated with real estate transactions conducted pre-acquisition, post-acquisition or independent of an acquisition; (2) identify buildings that consume more energy than their peers, that is, are under-performing relative to peers; (3) identify how under-performing buildings might be improved and provide a probable cost to bring under-performing buildings to parity with peers; (4) define a commercially useful and reliable guide for conducting a building energy performance and improvement evaluation; (5) facilitate consistency in conducting and reporting of building energy performance and the evaluation of measures that may improve energy performance; (6) provide a process for conducting a BEPIE that is technically sound, consistent, transparent, practical and reasonable; and (7) provide criterion for identifying what constitutes a building being considered an energy under-performer compared to its peers.

    1.4 Documentation—The scope of this guide includes data collection, compilation, analysis and reporting. All sources, records and resources relied upon in the BEPIE assessment should to be documented.

    1.5 Considerations Outside the Scope—The use of this guide is limited to the conduct of a BEPIE as defined by this guide. While this information may be used in assessing building valuation or for other reasons, any such use is solely between the user and the Consultant and beyond the scope of this guide.

    1.6 Organization of the Guide—BEPIE has 14 sections and 12 appendices. The appendices are included for informational purposes only and are provided for guidance in implementing this guide.

    Section 1

    Describes the scope of the guide.

    Section 2

    Identifies referenced documents.

    Section 3

    Provides terminology pertinent to the guide.

    Section 4

    Discusses the significance and use of the guide.

    Section 5

    Discusses the relationship between this guide and ASTM E2018, ASTM E2797 and ASHRAE 211.

    Section 6

    Describes the user’s responsibilities under this guide.

    Section 7

    Describes the data collection needs for this guide.

    Section 8

    Describes the building energy performance and improvement evaluation process.

    Section 9

    Describes the benchmarking process.

    Section 10

    Describes the process for conducting a screening assessment.

    Section 11

    Describes the more comprehensive assessment process.

    Section 12

    Describes reporting of findings and conclusions.

    Section 13

    Identifies non-scope considerations.

    Section 14

    Identifies keywords associated with the guide.

    Appendix X1

    Driving Forces for Considering Building Energy Performance in PCAs.

    Appendix X2

    Common Commercial Building Types.

    Appendix X3

    EPA Portfolio Manager.

    Appendix X4

    Commercial (CBECS) and Residential (RECS) Building Energy Consumption Surveys.

    Appendix X5

    U.S. Climate Zones.

    Appendix X6

    Building Performance Database.

    Appendix X7

    EULs of Common Energy-consuming Equipment.

    Appendix X8

    EEM Replacement Schedule Considerations.

    Appendix X9

    Energy Savings for Common EEMs.

    Appendix X10

    Common Energy and Water Savings Measures.

    Appendix X11

    Building Energy Performance and Sustainability Certifications.

    Appendix X12

    Sample BEPIE Screening Assessment Report Format

    1.7 This guide cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of this guide may be applicable in all circumstances. This ASTM guide is not intended to represent or replace the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service must be judged, nor should this guide be applied without consideration of a building’s many unique aspects. The word “standard” in the title means only that the guide has been approved through the ASTM consensus process.

    1.8 Nothing in this guide is intended to create or imply the existence of a legal obligation for reporting building energy performance or other building-related information. Any consideration of whether such an obligation exists under any federal, state, local, or common law is beyond the scope of this guide.

    1.9 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.10 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E2018 Guide for Property Condition Assessments: Baseline Property Condition Assessment Process

    E2797 Practice for Building Energy Performance Assessment for a Building Involved in a Real Estate Transaction

    ASHRAE Standards

    ASHRAE 90.1

    ASHRAE/ACCA Standard 211 Standard for Commercial Building Energy Audits

    ASHRAE Equipment Service Life Database

    ASHRAE Handbook HVAC Systems and Equipment, 2016

    ASHRAE Standard 189.1

    Other References

    DSIRE Database of Federal, State, Local Government and Utility Incentives for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (http://www.dsireusa.org)

    Fannie Mae

    Fannie Mae Energy and Water Survey Database

    Federal Energy Management Program

    RS Means Green Building Costs, 2019

    U.S. DOE 2011 Buildings Energy Data Book, last revised September 2017

    U.S. DOE Building Performance Database

    U.S. DOE Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption S

    U.S. DOE Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RE

    U.S. EPA, ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager

    U.S. EPA, WaterSense™

    U.S. EPA, WaterSense™ Water Efficiency Management Guide, Landscaping and Irrigation, EPA 832-F-17-016b, November 2017

    U.S. EPA, WaterSense™ Water Efficiency Management Guide, Mechanical Systems, EPA 832-F-17-016c, November 2017


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 91.120.10 (Thermal insulation of buildings)

    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/E3224-19

    Citation Format

    ASTM E3224-19, Standard Guide for Building Energy Performance and Improvement Evaluation in the Assessment of Property Condition, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2019, www.astm.org

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