The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is required by law to establish mandatory energy efficiency requirements for new federal commercial and residential buildings and to develop energy efficiency standards for manufactured homes. Federal law also requires that DOE publish determinations as to whether new editions of ASHRAE Standard 90.1 and the International Energy Conservation Code will improve energy efficiency. In response, DOE, through the Building Energy Codes Program (BECP) undertakes rulemaking processes to facilitate full disclosure of DOE’s analyses and development methodologies, to solicit public input, and to publish final rules. DOE’s rulemaking process involves
- Publication in the Federal Register of an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (issued when required under statute or when DOE seeks to notify the public that a rulemaking is being considered generally and usually requests comment on the appropriate scope or on specific topics)
- Publication in the Federal Register of a notice of proposed rulemaking (or preliminary determination) to provide notice and an opportunity for public comment
- Review and consideration of public comments; prepare reasoned responses to significant comment received
- Publication of a final rule in the Federal Register
DOE is required by law (the Energy Conservation and Production Act, as amended (ECPA)) to issue a determination as to whether the latest edition of ASHRAE Standard 90.1 (for commercial and multi-family high-rise residential buildings) or the latest version of the International Energy Conservation Code (for low-rise residential buildings) will improve energy efficiency compared to the previous edition of the corresponding standard or code. DOE has one year to publish a determination in the Federal Register after each new edition of the standard/code is published.
Energy Efficiency Standards for Federal Buildings
ECPA establishes minimum energy efficiency requirements for new commercial and residential federal buildings. The standards are based on model industry codes. DOE is required to determine whether to update the energy efficiency standards to reference the model industry codes following updates to the model industry codes. The energy efficiency requirements for new federal commercial and multi-family high-rise residential buildings are established in 10 CFR Part 433, while the energy efficiency requirements for new federal low-rise residential buildings are established in 10 CFR Part 435.
Energy Efficiency Standards for Manufactured Housing
DOE is required by law (the Energy independence and Security Act of 2007) to establish standards for energy efficiency in manufactured housing. The standards are to be based on the most recent version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) except in cases in which the DOE Secretary finds that the IECC is not cost-effective, or a more stringent standard would be more cost-effective, based on impacts of the provisions on the purchase price of the home and the total life-cycle construction and operating costs. DOE initiated a rulemaking process by issuing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in February 2010.