Energy Efficiency Standards for Federal Buildings

The Energy Conservation & Production Act (ECPA) established minimum energy efficiency requirements for federal buildings. Newly constructed commercial and residential federal buildings must meet or exceed these efficiency standards, which are based on the model energy codes. DOE is directed to update the federal standards regularly based on model code revisions, and to ensure energy efficiency across the federal building stock. (42 USC 6834 & 6835).

Requirements established for new federal commercial buildings are included in 10 CFR Part 433, while the requirements for new federal residential buildings are include in 10 CFR 435.

Commercial Buildings

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is directed to updated provisions regulating the construction of new federal commercial buildings, including high-rise residential buildings. These buildings must be designed to achieve energy consumption levels that are at least 30 percent below the levels established by the referenced baseline edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1, which is the national model energy code for commercial buildings. The current federal standard for commercial buildings is based on Standard 90.1-2013, effective January 5th, 2016. (80 FR 68758)

For more information regarding current federal energy efficiency requirements, please see the final rule or 10 CFR 433.

Residential Buildings

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is directed to update provisions regulating the construction of new federal low-rise residential buildings. These buildings must be designed to achieve energy consumption levels that are at least 30 percent below the levels established by the referenced baseline edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which is the national model energy code for residential buildings. The current federal standard for residential buildings is based on the 2009 IECC, effective August 10th, 2012. (76 FR 49279)

For more information regarding current federal energy efficiency requirements, please see the final rule or 10 CFR 435.

Implementation of Federal Building Energy Efficiency Standards

New federal buildings are required to perform 30 percent better than the baseline standard when doing so is cost-effective within the lifecycle of the building. If this additional savings threshold is not cost-effective for a particular building, an implementing agency must evaluate the cost and savings of alternate designs at successive decrements (e.g., 25%, 20%, etc.) to identify the most cost-effective design. Lifecycle cost-effectiveness is to be established using the methodology defined in the CFR.

The DOE Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides guidance and support to agencies in complying with the federal building energy efficiency standards. FEMP develops training, including webcasts and several resources surrounding the Standards and life-cycle costing.