Office of Energy and Sustainable Development
Office of Energy and Sustainable Development

Building Energy Saving Ordinance (BESO)

BESO replaced RECO/CECO 
Effective December 1, 2015, Berkeley's Building Energy Saving Ordinance (BESO), Berkeley Municipal Code 19.81, replaced both the Residential and Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinances (RECO and CECO). BESO requires Berkeley building owners to complete energy efficiency opportunity assessments and publicly report the building's energy efficiency information with the goal of helping building owners save energy and motivating them to participate in whole-building energy efficiency programs, such as Energy Upgrade California.

BESO Overview: BESO requires building owners and homeowners to complete comprehensive energy assessments to uncover energy saving opportunities. The assessments are conducted by registered energy assessors who provide tailored recommendations on how to save energy and link building owners to incentives for energy efficiency upgrade projects. Energy efficiency improvements are voluntary and encouraged. BESO is required prior to sale of a house or whole building, except for large buildings over 25,000 square feet and on a phased-in schedule for all buildings, except houses. BESO is required regardless of RECO or CECO compliance status.

BESO Requirements:

  1. Energy efficiency assessment
    • High performance buildings are exempt from the assessment requirements*
    • Assessments may be deferred to buyer for up to 12 months, at time of sale
  2. Public reporting of energy assessment and disclosure of energy information prior to sale   

*To qualify for a high performance building exemption, apply for a High Performance exemption by submitting a BESO Application Form and evidence of participation in a qualified energy efficiency program (such as Energy Upgrade California, an income-qualified Weatherization Assistance program, LEED Existing Building Operations and Maintenance, GreenPoint Rated Existing Whole Building, Zero Net Energy Building Certification, Certified Passive House standard, or SmartLights energy retrofit). 

How to Comply with BESO:

BESO Time of Sale   Required for all buildings except large buildings (25,000 square feet or more) 
BESO Phase-In Schedule Required for all buildings except homes (1-4 units) 

Early Compliance BESO Home Energy Score Rebates
Starting September 2015, a limited-time rebate program provides up to $200 for BESO-compliant Home Energy Score Assessments. The rebates are for early BESO compliance only and are based on the availability of funds. Check for BESO Home Energy Score Rebate eligibility, availability, and application.  

Interested in becoming a BESO Registered Energy Assessor? Check the BESO Energy Assessor webpage for qualifications and registration information.

BESO Compliance Documents

Links to BESO webpages:

Energy Efficiency Programs:

BESO Governing Documents:

For questions, email or call 510-981-7465.

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Office of Energy and Sustainable Development, 2120 Milvia St., Berkeley, CA 94704
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