Existing buildings present the biggest opportunity to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the built environment in the near term, but most building renovations today do not prioritize energy efficiency or decarbonization due to lack of resources and information. Building Performance Standards (BPS) are emerging as a powerful policy instrument that presents a first-of-its-kind opportunity to decarbonize existing buildings by requiring them to meet energy-based and/or GHG performance targets throughout their lifetime.  These Performance Standards are being established as state and local laws and ordinances to require existing buildings to achieve prescribed minimum levels of measured energy or climate performance, depending on the goals of the jurisdiction. Several states and cities in the United States, including New York City, Washington DC, Boston, Washington State, and others, have recently adopted BPS for commercial and multifamily buildings and are in the early stage of implementation. In addition, over 30 states and cities have committed to adopt similar policies by 2024 as part of the National BPS Coalition initiated by the White House, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Department of Energy.   


In this paper we introduce the status of BPS in the U.S. and provide an overview of the best practices from states and cities with these policies already in place. We will discuss the policy drivers behind BPS, introduce the technical issues that have impacted the existing BPS policies, and provide jurisdictions with the necessary technical knowledge for the development of an informed BPS policy that can have long-term success. We will consider the advantages and limitations of different performance metrics and targets, the technical, financial, and equity challenges for policy development and implementation, and opportunities for ASHRAE members to support building owners in compliance. The paper concludes with recommendations for core program components under an equitable BPS implementation model and how to connect a BPS to codes that regulate energy performance in new construction and existing building renovations, enabling both new and existing buildings of all covered types to meet performance targets consistently and predictably.  We will also preview ASHRAE’s efforts to develop a Technical Resource Guide to be published in 2022.



Bing Liu is the Building Sector Manager at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory under U.S. Department of Energy, overseeing the strategic planning and implementation of PNNL’s building portfolio. Bing focuses on building decarbonization, electrification and grid-and-building intersection strategic development and implementation. Bing was a group leader at PNNL overseeing the Building Energy Research and Analysis group with 30 researchers. She was also the program manager of the Building Energy Codes Program at PNNL, leading PNNL’s research team to support the development and implementation of building energy codes in support of U.S. Department of Energy. 


Bing is a nationally recognized technical expert with over 27 years of experience in building codes and standards, large scale building energy simulation, energy efficiency technology analysis, and building performance metering. Bing is a registered Professional Engineer, Fellow ASHRAE, a member of ASHRAE Standard 90.1, Standard 189.1 and technical program chair of ASHRAE 2020 Annual Conference. She was the lead author of award-winning Advanced Energy Design Guide and ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer. Bing was featured as one of Top 20 Women in HVAC Industry for 2020 by Engineered System Magazine. Bing is appointed by ASHRAE Society President to serve the executive committee of the ASHRAE’s Task Force for Building Decarbonization in 2022-2023. She also chairs the Building Performance Standards working group under the Task Force and primary author to develop ASHRAE’s BPS Technical Resource Guide. Bing is elected as a board member of New Building Institute.