Request for Proposals/Qualifications

Construction, Design, Procurement

Request for Proposals (RFP) and/or Request for Qualifications (RFQ) are key documents for alerting potential design teams to project energy goals. These goals often include the target energy use intensity (EUI) and broader goals such as ZE performance. The RFP should lay out key bidder requirements and should encourage prospective teams to imagine the energy performance before design begins. Documents such as the owner’s project requirements (OPR) and facilities master plan should also address project energy goals and team requirements.

A selection of requirements and recommended categories have been included for project teams to consider when drafting a RFP/RFQ for a ZE or ultra-low energy building. Links to selected example high-performance building RFPs are included in the Learn More sidebar for reference and comparison.

Program Requirements:

  • Building designs must reflect climate action plan and environmental policies.
  • Building designs must align with specific jurisdictional environmental goals (zero energy, zero carbon, efficiency targets, etc.).

Bidder Experience:

  • Bidders must have experience with high-performance or zero energy buildings. Experience must extend to managing a design team to achieve advanced energy efficiency performance.
  • Bidder may be asked for current energy performance data of previous projects.


  • Bidder must have prior experience in design and/or construction administration of high-performance and zero energy buildings.
  • Bidder to provide examples of team experience with high-performance and ZE buildings. Include both design (predicted) and operating (measured) EUI.

Scope of Services:

  • Owner will separately contract the building systems commissioning agent.
  • Bidder to include an envelope commissioning agent.
  • Bidder to contract with controls integrator.
  • Bidder to arrange and conduct a comprehensive ZE project charrette.
  • Bidder shall integrate sustainability principles into the design, development, and construction of the project.
  • Bidder to conduct four lifecycle cost analyses (LCCAs) throughout the project to minimize total cost of ownership of the facility, using a whole building, life-cycle approach.
  • Bidder to provide draft energy budgets to achieve zero energy.
  • Bidder to seek third-party Zero Energy certification.
  • See the owner’s project requirements (OPR) for other design considerations.

Performance Requirements:

  • Bidder to commit to a building design energy use intensity (EUI) of 18 to 25 kBtu/sf-year, or as necessary to operate at ZE based on estimated on-site solar availability.
  • The intent of this RFP is not to be prescriptive, but to challenge the design team to develop its own unique solutions.

Last Updated January 2019.