DOE Issues Green Building Rule That Will Spur Active Energy and Water Management

Release Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a final rule establishing criteria for federal agencies that choose to employ green building rating systems (RIN 1904 – AC13). The rule covers new construction and major renovations of federal buildings — including certain residential construction — of $2.5 million or more begun on or after October 14, 2015. The rule does not specify use of any particular certification system, but rather establishes criteria that promote energy efficient building designs and that focus on energy and water management.

The new rule will have a significant impact on federal energy use and taxpayers' wallets as 1/3 of the energy used by the federal government is consumed in its buildings. Most importantly, the new rule sets a precedent for active energy and water management by requiring post-occupancy verification of the savings at least every four years.

“The Department of Energy’s new rule not only continues the sharp trajectory of progress in reducing federal energy waste in buildings, but also cements the government’s role as a key market influencer helping to pave the way to better building design and practices for state and local governments and the private sector,” said Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan.

DOE’s action supports that agency’s goal of reducing building energy use in the U.S. by 50% and advance the President’s goal — articulated through the Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030 partnership between Alliance to Save Energy (the Alliance), DOE and Council on Competiveness (COC) — to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030.  

“While often overlooked, active energy management is critical to ensuring that the energy savings realized in the design and construction of a building are sustained over time. By mandating post-occupancy verification of energy and water savings on a regular basis, the government can be sure that its facilities are performing optimally now and in the future,” said Maureen Guttman, president of the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP).

“Effective certification systems, as established in the new DOE federal green building rule, help to prove out new technologies and practices that can support the adoption of dynamic building energy codes that will lock-in savings for building owners across the country,” said Energy Efficient Codes Coalition executive director Bill Fay.

The rule will go into effect on November 13, 2014.