Building Performance Standards

States, cities, and other localities are increasingly passing laws and ordinances that impose regulatory mandates on buildings to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy consumption, or both. These local laws are known as Building Performance Standards (BPS).

The effect of BPS laws, and the energy consumption and emissions “targets” they would impose on buildings, can require asset owners to pay for energy efficiency “retrofits,” electrification projects, and install solar panels or other clean energy technologies. If an owner does not take such steps to reduce emissions or energy use, they could pay fines or penalties.


Flexible, voluntary guidelines–like those released for federally-owned buildings–are needed at the national level to help standardize a potential patchwork of divergent state and local laws that vary in how they regulate buildings’ energy usage and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


The Biden administration has formed a coalition of states and localities committed to developing, enacting, and implementing BPS laws. The administration has also released performance standard guidelines for federally-owned buildings with the goal of eliminating scope 1 emissions. Notably, the federal guidelines do not require buildings to reduce their upstream and downstream “scope 3” emissions outside of the building’s control.

While national BPS legislation is unlikely, these federal BPS guidelines may set an easier standard compared to a number of emerging BPS mandates at the state and municipal level. Furthermore, the EPA has issued helpful guidance recommending “metrics” that states and localities should consider if they enact BPS laws.

Members of The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) participated in EPA’s multi-year, multi-stakeholder task force in developing these recommendations.

For more information and recent updates, reference our resources below or search using the bar at the top of the page.

Clean Energy Tax Incentives
Reporting on Climate Risks
EPA's ENERGY STAR Certification for Buildings
EPA's ENERGY STAR Tenant Space Recognition
Building Performance Standards
Science-Based Targets
“Healthy Buildings”