The B3 Sustainable Building Guidelines is a set of sustainable building standards developed by the State of Minnesota in the United States. B3 stands for "Buildings, Benchmarks, and Beyond," and the guidelines are intended to provide a framework for designing and constructing high-performance, energy-efficient buildings. The B3 Guidelines and the SB 2030 Energy Standard can be implemented during the design phase for new or renovated buildings. Existing buildings can benefit from B3 Benchmarking, B3 Energy Efficient Operations, and B3 Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) for assessing and enhancing their energy efficiency. In this article, we will explain what the B3 Sustainable Building Standard for Minnesota is, how it works, and how cove.tool can help.
How does it work?
As soon as you have identified that you have a project that has or is planned to receive State bond money, contact B3 Guidelines Support to get your project set up in the B3 Guidelines Tracking Tool.
Project Planning & Work: At the start of each phase (or year of operation), the guideline leader should review the B3 Guidelines and required documentation and plan the tasks to be completed for that phase and future phases. If variances to the B3 Guidelines are sought, requests a variance from the appropriated agency through the B3 Guidelines Tracking Tool.
Documentation: The project team completes the appropriate documentation via the B3 Guideline Tracking by the end of each phase. The guideline leader submits online documentation to the appropriated agency for compliance review at the end of each phase.
Review and Tracking: The appropriated agency reviews the level of compliance reported by the project team. The agency also reviews and decides whether to approve variance requests. Center for Sustainable Building Research in the University of Minnesota tracks the status of compliance, variances, documentation, and performance outcomes and summarizes these for the state.
All project information is submitted through the online B3 Tracking Tool. The Tracking Tool is an online project file that helps to collect information at each phase of the guidelines from team members and manages the submission process.
What are Guidelines Category?
The B3 Sustainable Guidelines are structured into five key categories, with each category containing multiple features that aim to address various aspects of occupant health, comfort, or knowledge. Each feature is further divided into parts that are often tailored to specific building types or construction methods. Within each part, there are one or more requirements that specify particular parameters that must be fulfilled.
Performance Management : It supports project teams by facilitating the gathering of crucial information and coordination of design, construction, and operations processes. The ultimate goal is to ensure optimal building performance and compliance while also enabling effective tracking of project outcomes.
Site and Water : It intends to restore the ecological integrity of project sites by improving local soil and water quality to support healthy, biodiverse communities of plants, animals, and humans.
Energy and Atmosphere : Objective is to promote the design and operation of energy-efficient buildings in order to achieve several benefits, including reducing expenditures on imported fuel, mitigating the negative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing adverse effects of refrigerant selection, and preparing for the next-generation energy infrastructure.
Indoor Environmental Quality: It intends to provide high quality indoor environmental conditions to promote occupant health, well-being, and productivity.
Material and Waste: To reduce embodied environmental impact and toxicity in the building materials.
How can cove.tool help?
Regarding submittals, the B3 guidelines require project teams to submit a range of documentation throughout the design and construction process to demonstrate compliance with the program's requirements. These submittals may include energy modeling reports, commissioning plans and reports, and sustainability plans, among others. The guidelines specify the format and timing of these submittals, and they must be reviewed and approved by the project's B3 sustainability consultant.
Here are list of some submittals that cove.tool directly provides and other submittal can be documented based on data than can be computed with help of cove.tool :
Site and Water - Site Water Quality and Efficiency
S.2D (and S.2F, if pursuing): Submit base and design case indoor water consumption, any alternatively sourced indoor water used, updated completed Building Water Calculator documenting required reduction from base case, and verification that site contractor understands the requirements and intents of this guideline. (Update according final Phase and occupancy)
S.2A: Provide documentation of final project site design demonstrating conformance with the project site requirements concerning infiltration, evapotranspiration, and runoff.
Yes, Water feature of cove.tool calculate indoor water consumption, Strom water run off and irrigation WUI. (Help Article)
Indoor Environmental Quality - Ventilation
I.3A: Submit ASHRAE 62 calculations for each zone, showing the required and planned ventilation rate in each.
Yes, the Ventilation Calculation Tool within loadmodeling.tool can produce ASHRAE 62.1 reports. (Help Article)
Indoor Environmental Quality - Lighting and Daylighting
I.5C: Submit preliminary daylight map or table of regularly occupied spaces documenting compliance with one of the listed paths. Small Building projects may submit preliminary building elevations and calculations of the window-to-wall ratio documenting minimum percentage met for enclosure bounding regularly occupied space.
Yes, 3d Analysis tool can produce daylight maps and also generate report in a table of occupied spaces with SDA and ASE. (Help Article)
Building Geometry page can help with to get WWR for each elevation.
Indoor Environmental Quality - View Space and Window Access
I.7A: Submit preliminary floor plans for regularly occupied floor area, with identified sight lines to focal points at least 25 ft. from occupant location(s).
I.7B and I.7C: Create preliminary plan indicating floor area served, vision glazing contributing to compliance, and view availability of at least one of the listed items.
Yes, Views tab on 3D analysis tool can produce plan mapping view accessibility. (Help Article)
Materials and Waste - Life Cycle Assessment of Materials
M.1A: Documentation of either Path 1, Path 2 or Path 3 for Global Warming Potential GWP Reduction Path.
M.1B: Submit at least five different Product Declarations or Environmental Product Declarations that comply with the guideline requirements.
Embodied Carbon feature of cove.tool calculate GWP fulfilling all scope of assessment under A1-A3. (Help Article)
All embodied carbon values are sourced in the following prioritized method:
EPD directly from the EC3 database
a manufactures certified product EPD
a certified industry EPD
the median value for the product type from known values(Help Article)