BiRite First to Complete New Brisbane Building Efficiency Program

By: Adrienne Etherton, Sustainability Manager Analyst, City of Brisbane, , (415) 508-2118

BiRite Foodservice Distributors is proving that smart energy and water management pays off. Recently, BiRite completed an early compliance effort for the Brisbane Building Efficiency Program (BBEP) in November 2020. This Program was created in 2019 to help make local buildings more energy and water efficient and curb emissions driving
climate change. Most owners of local buildings 10,000 sq feet or more must benchmark their building and report results to the City annually starting May 15, 2021. By participating in the early compliance effort, BiRite was able to complete requirements ahead of time, take advantage of 1:1 support, and gain a better understanding of their building resource use.
BiRite Foodservice Distributors is an owner-occupied food distribution center that has been in Brisbane since the late 1990s. The locally owned and operated company provides food service support to restaurants, catering, schools, and hotels
in the greater Bay Area. Their 235,000 square foot facility, built in 1980, is served by Peninsula Clean Energy. Nathan Barulich is the third generation business owner who has led many of BiRite’s smart resource management efforts and participation in the Building Efficiency Program. Nathan, alongside his two brothers and father as co-owners, says that they see tremendous value in owning and operating the business while supporting the local community. His motivation to pursue smart resource management was doing what’s right for the environment, for the company, and their finances. As a savvy business owner, Nathan’s goal is to be self reliant as a company; the more variables he can control the better. Due to rising energy costs,he decided to install rooftop solar on the facility – a 1.6 megawatt system with a total of 4,500 solar panels – and add battery storage to offset peak demand charges and energy use. Nathan leveraged tax benefits and rebates, and encourages others to explore similar opportunities because the investment pays back faster than most realize.
Nathan benchmarked his facility using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (ESPM) to comply with Brisbane’s Building Efficiency Program. Benchmarking refers to the process of tracking performance against a standard; in this case dividing a building’s energy and water use by square footage. ESPM is an online tool managed by the Environmental Protection Agency that helps measure and track resource usage and greenhouse gas emissions for buildings. Nathan found ESPM easy to navigate and intuitive. It took about a month to complete, and Nathan expressed gratitude for the one-on-one support. Although it was a relatively straightforward process, Nathan cautions that building representatives allow themselves time to navigate the collection of data from PG&E and troubleshooting with utility representatives, which can be time consuming. He’s glad to have completed the compliance requirements early and looks forward to analyzing his building’s energy performance.
Although the Brisbane Building Efficiency Program requirements apply to buildings 10,000 square feet or larger, the benefits of energy and water benchmarking can be realized for buildings of all sizes, and resource savings from upgrades contribute to a more efficient, safer, and comfortable environment in any building. For more information about the Program, resources to leverage, and compliance requirements, please visit Brisbane’s Program website at and contact or (415) 347-2010.