Biden Administration Reveals New Building Performance Standards

On Wednesday, the Biden administration revealed a new building performance standard, requiring federal agencies to slash energy use and electrify equipment and appliances in 30% of their building space by 2030.

The move is part of a plan by the Biden administration to cut out fossil fuels from residential and commercial buildings.

The White House said that energy used in federal buildings for space heating, water heating, cooking, and other needs comprises more than 25% of federal emissions.

The administration will create new Energy Star standards for heat pumps, central air conditioners, and electric water heaters and is starting an initiative to increase market adoption of efficient water heaters in residential and commercial buildings. The proposals would also phase out incandescent lightbulbs along with 110 other efficiency actions taken by the administration to help lower energy costs.

A fact sheet released by the White House on Monday was vague about what exactly the performance standards were but said it plans to “establish metrics, targets, and tracking methods to reach federal carbon emissions goals.”

The Energy Department will be investing $30 million in workforce development to help fund job creation in areas such as constructing, upgrading, and electrifying buildings and $10 million toward accelerating research and adoption of heat pump technology.

The agency estimated that reduction mandates would save $8 million each year in upfront equipment costs and would reduce carbon emissions from federal buildings by 1.86 million metric tons and methane emissions by 22.8 thousand tons over the next 30 years.

According to officials, the standard would move forward Biden’s plan to decarbonize the economy by 2050 and achieve a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035.

In a critical piece, the Washington Free Beacon criticized the Biden administration’s estimate of pointing out that “so-called clean electricity is roughly four-and-a-half times more expensive than natural gas, leading to “increases in energy costs across the board” that outweigh the savings on equipment expected under the plan.”

The American Gas Association called the new rules “impractical, unscientific and expensive” with “no environmental benefit.”

In a statement, the AGA said, “In reality, the demand for electricity fueled by natural gas will only increase and the costs [of electrification] will be borne by every taxpayer.”

The AGA said that it will thoroughly evaluate the proposal and vigorously participate in the public comment process.”