The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), with the support of the Biden-Harris administration, has proposed a new rule requiring all newly constructed or renovated federal facilities to reduce their emissions from 2025 onward, according to Energy.gov.
On-site emissions would be reduced by 90% compared to 2003 emissions levels. From 2030 onward, new and newly renovated buildings would be fully decarbonized as a part of President Joe Biden's goal of net-zero emissions from federal buildings by 2045.
“Ridding pollution from our buildings and adopting clean electricity are some of the most cost-effective and future-oriented solutions we have to combat climate change,” DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm told Energy.gov. “For the first time ever, DOE is establishing a firm timetable to reduce the government’s carbon footprint in new and existing federal facilities — ensuring the Biden-Harris administration is leading by example in the effort to reach the nation’s ambitious climate goals.”
According to the website, fossil fuels used in federal buildings make up over 25% of all federal emissions. If the new rule is enacted within the proposed time frame, the new emission reduction requirements would save taxpayers an estimated $8 million annually in upfront emissions costs.
Over the next 30 years, the rule would also lower carbon emissions from federal buildings by 1.86 metric tons, as well as lower methane emissions 22.8 thousand tons, which is equivalent to the amount of emissions generated by 300,000 homes in one year.
The rule would slowly eliminate the on-site usage of fossil fuels for end uses such as heating. Federal agencies that use fossil fuels for activities critical to national security would not be penalized. In addition, entities set to be affected by the proposed rule are invited to direct comments to the DOE over the course of the next several weeks. The DOE will also host a webinar with more details on Thursday, Jan. 5.