Federal Building Energy Code Requirements and Residential Appliance Proposals Would Save Americans Millions in Energy Costs and Advance Carbon Reduction Efforts. Biden Administration to Finalize 100 Actions to Save Households $100 Annually.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced new building energy code requirements for Federal buildings that will save taxpayer dollars and ensure that the federal government leads by example in energy efficiency. DOE is also proposing new standards for residential room air conditioners and pool heaters to help consumers save on their utility bills. When U.S. homes purchase over seven million room air conditioners each year—critical equipment to help communities cope with increasingly common and extreme heat events—the potential benefits to households from these proposed standards are immense. 

Together, DOE estimates the new codes and proposed standards announced today can potentially save more than $15 billion in net costs over the next 30 years. They will also potentially save 2.2 quads of energy, equivalent to the energy use of 13 million homes in one year, and reduce emissions equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of 14.4 million homes over a 30-year period. This builds upon the priorities of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes an unprecedented $225 million for state and local implementation of energy codes. 

“The Biden Administration is leading by example to cut energy use and reduce its carbon footprint by adopting the latest building standards that drive down operating costs and therefore save taxpayer dollars,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Coupled with the appliance standards proposed today for American households, DOE is reiterating our commitment to reaching net zero carbon emissions, improving our air quality and keeping more money in the pockets of families across the country.” 

Beginning in April 2023, all new buildings and major retrofits constructed by the Federal government must comply with the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the 2019 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers Standard 90.1 building energy codes. DOE estimates that this measure will save $4.2 million dollars in operating costs within the first year of implementation.  

A recent DOE analysis found implementation of the latest IECC building energy codes by states would result in $3.24 billion in annual energy cost savings for consumers. Residential buildings, including those constructed by the Federal government, meeting the 2021 IECC, as compared with buildings meeting the 2018 IECC, would result in national site-energy savings of approximately 9%, source-energy savings of nearly 9%, and energy-cost savings of more than 8%.   

In addition to the federal building standards, the DOE is seeking comment from stakeholders on two proposed residential-focused rules for 60 days and will hold a public meeting to solicit feedback from industry and energy-efficiency stakeholders:

  • Energy Conservation Standards for Room Air Conditioners: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for revised energy standards for room air conditioners, which DOE estimates will save consumers up to $275 over the life of the product if finalized.
  • Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Pool Heaters: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for energy standards for pool heaters, which DOE estimates will save electric pool heater consumers more than $1,000 over the life of the product if finalized. 

These rulemakings are the latest in an ambitious slate of regulatory actions to reduce energy, costs, and pollution from appliances, equipment, and buildings. By the end of 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration intends to finalize more than 100 proposed and final actions for appliance and equipment standards. Averaged over every household in America, DOE conservatively estimates that these rules could collectively result in more than $100 in annual savings for each household in this decade. DOE’s preliminary analysis of the first 26 of these rulemakings estimates a net $224 billion in utility bill savings over the lifetime of products purchased over a 30-year period. These rules are expected to result in nearly 40 quads of full-fuel cycle energy savings and at least 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions avoided – the equivalent of emissions from the electricity used in every American household for nearly two years, shutting down about 10 coal-fired power plants, or taking 7.9 million cars off the road over 30 years. 

To learn more about DOE’s work on building-efficiency and appliance standards, visit the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program and Building Energy Codes Program web pages.  

The mission of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and solutions to equitably transition America to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050, and ensure the clean energy economy benefits all Americans, creating good paying jobs for the American people—especially workers and communities impacted by the energy transition and those historically underserved by the energy system and overburdened by pollution.