WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is pursuing a suite of initiatives to strengthen federal energy management through increased focus on measurement of energy use in federal buildings and energy efficient building design. Principal among the efforts is DOE’s issuance of a final rule that requires verified energy and water performance for new and retrofitted federal buildings that are certified by private sector green building certification systems. 

The rule, which goes into effect Nov. 13, ensures that in cases where agencies choose to use green building certification systems to meet federal sustainability and energy standards, they must choose a system that verifies enhanced energy and water efficiency. By requiring reassessments at least every four years, the rule will ensure energy and water savings continue well beyond the initial building opening or retrofit. System requirements for the verification of energy and water performance in new construction and major renovations will lead to reduced consumption through active energy and water management.

DOE said the considered use of green building rating systems advances federal high performance buildings by focusing on modernized, integrated building systems that minimize inefficiencies and waste and increase cost-saving benefits. 

To further DOE’s energy savings efforts, the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) has updated its Federal Building Energy Use Benchmarking Guidance, which designates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Energy Star Portfolio Manager as the sole benchmarking tool for federal agencies. Complementing energy measurement efforts, DOE will soon release guidance for federal building metering that will help agencies prioritize buildings for metering as they undertake efforts to measure energy and water consumption to meet federal energy and water reduction goals. Together, these efforts will bring increased focus to verification of energy performance and management in federal buildings. 

Finally, DOE issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional public comment on its proposed rule to phase in designs of new federal buildings and major renovations that significantly reduce consumption of non-renewable energy. The comment period closes Dec. 15, 2014.

For more information on how the DOE enables federal agencies to meet energy-related goals, visit the FEMP website.

Publication date: 10/27/2014

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