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Berkeley BESO Frequently Asked Questions

Berkeley Building Energy Saving Ordinance (BESO)

BESO applies to commercial buildings, multi-family buildings, houses and mixed-use buildings (commercial and residential use).

The BESO ordinance's "Assessment" would be defined by ASHRAE as an Energy Audit.  Appendix D defines the required energy assessment as an ASHRAE Level 2 audit for commercial and multi-family buildings over 50,000 square feet and a ASHRAE Level 1 for commercial and multi-family buildings under 50,000 square feet.   For mixed-use buildings the determining size is 10,000 square feet.  Those over 10,000square feet required an ASHREA Level 2 audit while those under 10,00 square feet require only an ASHEAE Leve 1 audit.

This would be defined within the industry as a benchmark report using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manger tool to prepare a Statement of Energy Performance.

The Energy Assessment report has a filing fee ranging from $79 for a house to $240 for a large building.  This is in addition to the preparer’s fees.

Prior to the execution of a contract for Sale, it is the responsibility of the Building Owner to comply with the energy assessment and reporting requirement.  

There are several exemptions, deferrals and extensions available.  This document does not profess to list them all, but some are as follows:

  • High Performance Exemption for buildings that have achieved significant energy efficiency as demonstrated by one of several industry certifications that are available.
  • Time of sale deferrals that apply if the BUYER concurs and agrees to fulfill the reporting requirements within the deferral period of up to 12 months.
  • Hardship Extensions and Deferrals which include deferrals for buildings under rent control prior to January 1, 1999.
  • Deferral for new construction and extensively renovated buildings
  • Low energy use deferral for commercial buildings operating less than 24 hours per week and for buildings with an ENERGY STAR score of 80 or greater.
  • Data unavailable deferral for building owners who have been unable to obtain tenant authorization to access tenant utility data
  • Contracted registered energy assessor extension for building owners who have the energy assessment report under contract with a registered energy assessor and await their deliverable.
  • Unconditioned floor space reclassification whereby the unconditioned space (not heated or cooled) may be subtracted from the gross floor area to establish a reclassified building size.
  • Exemption for sale of a unit that is part of a larger building such as the sale of an attached condominium unit within a larger building (including co-ops and TICs).  However, the condominium association must comply with BESO by the phase in date.

Like all other municipal and state requirements, a licensed assessor is not required to prepare these reports.  ENERGY STAR service providers who are experienced in preparing these reports, such as Pegasus Energy Solutions, can prepare them usually for far less money.

Of course, this is Berkeley.  There are fines of $100 for each violation and additional fine up to $25 per day for each day that the violation continues, up to a maximum of $1000 per violation.