New regulations finalized by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last week can be expected to save taxpayers more than $776 million dollars over the next ten years. By mandating stricter energy efficiency requirements for new federal buildings, the regulations will help save forty trillion British thermal units of energy and will reduce emissions by an estimated two million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Based on ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2004 – an American National Standard developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) – the regulations require federal building projects to achieve at least thirty percent greater energy efficiency over existing building codes.
The new regulations also incorporate recommendations from the International Code Council’s (ICC) International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
The announcement comes on the heels of an August agreement between ASHRAE and DOE to increase building energy efficiency standards [see related article]. That partnership specifically identified ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1:2004, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, as the main thrust of an aggressive effort to improve the overall energy performance of all new construction projects in the public and private sectors alike.
“Dramatically elevating building efficiency standards to these unprecedented levels substantially transforms the way the federal government manages and uses energy,” said Andy Karsner, DOE assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “These standards contribute to sound and stable efficiency policy that will yield real, substantive energy savings and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”
DOE is not the only agency to recognize the value of voluntary consensus standards for energy efficiency. According to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) are now required to implement standards that are at least as stringent as ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1:2004 or the IECC for all new construction and rehabilitation projects within their purview.
For more information, view DOE’s final rule in the December 21, 2007, edition of the Federal Register. The rule will take effect on January 22, 2008.