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The B3 Guidelines can be applied to the design of new buildings or renovations to meet sustainability goals for site, water, energy, indoor environment, materials and waste. The B3 Guidelines are required on all projects that receive general obligation bond funding from the State of Minnesota. The guidelines can also be used on a voluntary basis on any project. By using the B3 Guidelines, projects will automatically be applying the SB 2030 Energy Standard. After design, during the building occupancy period, the building will also use the B3 Benchmarking tool to track and compare actual energy use and the B3 Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) to survey occupants on the indoor environmental quality of the building.

B3 Version 3.2r01 has been released and is applicable for projects beginning predesign or enrolled in the B3 Guidelines Tracking Tool on or after January 1, 2020. Projects beginning their Schematic Design Phase prior to this date may use Version 3.1 but are encouraged to use Version 3.2.

Performance Management  Performance Management
Site and Water  Site & Water
Energy and Atmosphere  Energy & Atmosphere
Indoor Environmental Quality  Indoor Environmental Quality
Materials and Waste  Materials & Waste

B3 Guidelines Small Buildings Method Applicability Criteria:

Projects considered “Small Buildings” are eligible to use a streamlined path through the B3 Guidelines, in which some guidelines are not required and others have alternative compliance paths available. “Small Buildings” are defined as those that include less than 20,000 gross square feet (gsf) of conditioned space[1]. Upon approval from the B3 Guidelines Administrators, several other space types may be eligible for exclusion from the building area calculation, including:

  • Spaces that are not regularly occupied and are indirectly conditioned, or semiheated spaces[2]
  • Spaces that are not regularly occupied and are primarily used to enclose industrial or similar processes
  • Spaces that are not regularly occupied and are primarily used to provide inactive storage

These exclusions are for the sole purpose of determining eligibility for the B3 Guidelines Small Buildings Path; spaces that qualify for exclusion from this building area calculation are not exempt from meeting applicable guideline requirements. Additionally, some spaces that may be excluded from the area calculation for the B3 Guidelines Small Buildings Path may be required to be included when determining eligibility for the SB 2030 Small Buildings Method. The table below outlines which spaces may contribute to each program’s determination. Note that there are spaces that may contribute to a project’s qualifying B3 Guidelines Area but not toward consideration under SB 2030 (for example, a space in which the HVAC systems will not be modified but which will undergo other renovations). Further details on determination of applicability of the SB 2030 Small Building method can be found at www.b3mn.org/2030energystandard/ or by contacting program support.

Which spaces need to be included in the building area calculations to determine the applicability of the B3 Guidelines Small Buildings Method and the SB 2030 Small Buildings Method?

 Regularly occupiedNot regularly occupiedNot regularly occupied, and primarily inactive storage/industrial process
Conditioned space Include for both B3, SB 2030 Include for both B3, SB 2030Include for SB 2030, potentially excluded from B3*
Indirectly conditioned Include for both B3, SB 2030Include for SB 2030, potentially excluded from B3*Include for SB 2030, potentially excluded from B3*
Semiheated space Include for both B3, SB 2030Include for SB 2030, potentially excluded from B3*Include for SB 2030, potentially excluded from B3*
Unconditioned spaceDo not include for B3, SB 2030Do not include for B3, SB 2030Do not include for B3, SB 2030

*Spaces noted as “potentially excluded” above must be approved by the B3 Guidelines Administrators.

[1] Conditioned Space is defined per ASHRAE: https://www.energycodes.gov/resource-center/faqs/what-are-space-conditioning-types

[2] Semiheated Space is defined per ASHRAE: https://www.energycodes.gov/resource-center/faqs/what-are-space-conditioning-types