In Congress’s efforts to seek ways of improving the energy efficiency of federal buildings, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement held a hearing on July 21 to examine the federal government’s role in greening buildings.

The impact of U.S. buildings is large: Their CO2 emissions alone approximately equal the combined emissions of Japan, France, and the United Kingdom for transportation, industry, and buildings. The U.S. federal government is the nation’s largest energy consumer and greenhouse-gas emitter.

Testifying at the hearing, ASHRAE President Lynn G. Bellenger said, “Over the years, significant progress has been made in the federal, commercial, and residential sectors, and we are poised to embark on a new era of energy efficiency and taxpayer-dollar stewardship that will lead us to net-zero-energy buildings."

ASHRAE has long-partnered with the federal government on efforts to improve building efficiency, and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, now serves as both a federal-building standard and the national reference for state-adopted commercial-building codes. During the hearing, Bellenger highlighted several efforts and initiatives that ASHRAE is engaging in that will help lead to increased building efficiency, including ASHRAE’s:

Advanced Energy Design Guides for achieving 30 percent savings over Standard 90.1-1999, the forthcoming guides for achieving 50 percent savings, followed by guides for achieving net-zero-energy consumption.
Certification programs for high-performance building design, building energy modeling, health-care-facility design, commissioning process, and operations and performance management professionals.
Building Energy Quotient (Building EQ) labeling program that includes both As Designed (asset) and In Operation (operational) ratings for all building types, except residential. Building EQ allows the general public, tenants, building owners, prospective owners, operations and maintenance personnel, and others to quickly and easily view how energy efficient a building is in operation compared with its design through a letter-grade and color scale.
ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings, the first code-intended green-building standard in the United States. Standard 189.1 also serves as a jurisdictional compliance option of the International Green Construction Code, published by the International Code Council.