We talk to many building owners and property managers asking what happens if they do not comply with the Phase II Audit/Retro-commissioning (A/RCx) stage of the City of Los Angeles Existing Buildings Energy & Water Efficiency Program (EBEWE) Ordinance. You can read about the fines and penalties for non-compliance here. But, we want people to understand that energy and water exemptions can be met to avoid the cost, time, and labor of ASHRAE Level II audits and retro-commissioning reports. It’s easy to miss the fine print on the notices sent by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS).
"You may be exempt from performing an A/RCx for energy and/or water if your building falls under the specific exemptions provided in Division 97 of the LAMC. To be considered for an exemption, a request and supporting justification must be submitted by a California licensed engineer or architect to LADBS.”
How to Know if You Qualify for an EBEWE Exemption
We prioritize these least-cost options to save money and provide value to each of our EBEWE clients. After we complete the benchmarking of a building, we deliver a custom progress and goals report which, using the metrics from ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®, illustrates the building’s benchmarked energy and water efficiency performance. The report then outlines all EBEWE Phase II compliance options based on the previous 5-years performance of that building. Surprisingly, often buildings can meet at least one or both energy and water exemptions. The table below shows the Phase II compliance schedule and comparative periods used to determine exemptions.
* The initial compliance due dates for Building IDs ending with 0-3 were impacted by the COVID emergency order tolling of deadlines and are now subject to the reissue due date of September 7, 2023.
Why do EBEWE A/RCx Exemptions Matter?
The cost of meeting an exemption can be up to 65% less than receiving an ASHRAE Level II energy and or water audit and RCx report. Additionally, if you’re meeting an exemption you have a high-performing building, which is contributing to the city’s goal to reduce carbon emissions, and you operate an efficient building, congratulations. If you are eligible, you can also gain ENERGY STAR Certification which can help with the lease rate and marketing of your property.
What do I Have to do to Submit an EBEWE A/RCx Exemption?
Hire Green Econome of course! Whether our team completes it for you or not, here are the basics:
- The building must be accurately benchmarked with no estimated data. LADBS requires a CA Professional Engineer or Licensed Architect to validate the results.
- Once the exemption is met (reduction verification, ENERGY STAR Certification, etc) a declaration of exemption must be signed by the Licensed Professional and submitted through the LADBS online portal.
- Compliance must be met every 5 years, with benchmarking required every year. Since that data is required, it’s best to always stay current on your energy and water benchmarking disclosure compliance.
Of course, you can pay for an audit that someone else tells you is required without considering these exemptions. Not all Service Providers ever mention these exemptions, because their entire approach is to sell you into an audit.
Since the tolling of EBEWE deadlines has been lifted, and the due date is now September 7, 2023, it is time to get moving. Depending on the exemption, it can take 6-8 weeks to complete, so have your building benchmarked if it hasn’t been brought up to compliance and see if it can meet any exemptions.
JUST ANNOUNCED: LADBS will be accepting 2023 ENERGY STAR Certifications for Building IDs 0-3 who need to comply by September 7th. This is a huge win that Green Econome advocated for. It allows building owners who may not meet a reduction target but are eligible for Certification to still gain that recognition and exemption, where their only other option would have been an A/RCx report. Thank you Los Angeles!
Marika Erdely is the founder and CEO of Green EconoME. Before founding the company, she was CFO/VP at New Millennium Homes, a major home builder, and land developer, bringing with her nearly thirty years as an accounting professional. Marika has her Contractors License B & C-10 and is a LEED AP BD+C, Certified Energy Auditor, and Fitwel Ambassador. Marika holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BA in Business Economics from UCSB.