Icon showing a building with a leaf coming out of the roofNet-Zero Emissions Buildings by 2045, including a 50% reduction by 2032

President Biden's Executive Order 14057 on catalyzing American clean energy industries and jobs through Federal sustainability and accompanying Federal Sustainability Plan (collectively referred to as "The Federal Sustainability Plan") establishes an ambitious path to achieve a net-zero emissions buildings goal by 2045. The Federal Government will work across new building construction, major renovations, and existing real property to electrify systems, decrease energy use, reduce water consumption and cut waste. Federal agencies will set ambitious, data-driven 2030 goals and annual targets for energy and water reductions, based on leading performance benchmarks for building type categories and the composition of the agency's building portfolio. As part of this strategy, the Federal Government will use performance contracting to reduce emissions, improve efficiency, and modernize facilities while delivering financial savings.

Key Actions

+ Build for net-zero emissions.

The Federal Government will ensure that when it builds, it builds better. All new construction and major modernization projects larger than 25,000 GSF entering the planning stage will be designed, constructed, and operated to be net-zero emissions by 2030, and where feasible, net-zero water and waste. Agencies' capital planning and retrofit projects will consider and prioritize:

  • Building electrification and replacement of fossil-fuel consuming equipment with technologies that use carbon pollution-free electricity.
  • On-site generation of carbon pollution-free energy and storage.
  • Technologies that reduce GHG emissions from building, campus, or installation operations.
  • Use of ongoing data analytics for system diagnostics and persistence of savings.
+ Implement the Federal Building Performance Standards to drive emission reductions in existing buildings.

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) will develop and issue the first-ever Federal Building Performance Standards to drive greater efficiency and decarbonization.

On December 7, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the first-ever energy and climate performance standard for the country's 300,000 Federal buildings. As the single largest energy consumer and building manager in the nation, the Biden Administration’s Federal Building Performance Standard (BPS) will help the U.S. Government lower its energy bills, increase resilience, cut emissions, create new markets, grow good-paying jobs, and demonstrate leadership to reduce climate change. Learn more about the Federal Building Performance Standard.

+ Increase energy and water efficiency.

Under the President's Federal Sustainability Plan, Federal agencies will set ambitious, data-driven 2030 goals and annual targets for energy and water reductions based on leading performance benchmarks for building type categories and the composition of the agency's building portfolio. As part of achieving this target, agencies will also:

  • Complete deep energy retrofits and whole building commissioning on a minimum of 30 percent of covered facilities by 2030, with priority placed on high energy consuming facilities.
  • Implement space utilization and optimization.
  • Deploy strategies to maximize demand flexibility through smart, grid-integrated controls, equipment, and devices.
  • Improve energy efficiency of on-site data centers.
+ Reduce waste, minimize use of toxic and hazardous chemicals, and drive markets for recycled products.

Agencies will annually divert 50 percent of building non-hazardous waste and construction and demolition debris by 2025 and 75 percent by 2030. Federal agencies will also pursue net-zero waste buildings, campuses, and installations where feasible. In addition, agencies will reduce or minimize the use of toxic and hazardous chemicals and materials, particularly where such reduction will assist the agency in reducing their GHG emissions.

+ Achieve higher levels of sustainability in owned and leased buildings.

New construction and major modernization projects larger than 25,000 GSF entering the planning stage after September 30, 2021, will be designed and constructed to leading sustainable design standards. At a minimum, these construction projects must meet the sustainable design requirements as defined by CEQ's Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings wherever technically feasible and practicable.

The Federal Government also will leverage its footprint of leased space to drive greater sustainability in the building sector. All new and renewed leases over 25,000 RSF, where the Federal Government occupies at least 75 percent of the building, and that are entered into after September 30, 2023, will be green leases, as defined by GSA. They will require the lessor to report to the agency lessee annual data on facility GHG emissions, energy and water consumption, and waste generation. By 2030, all leases greater than 25,000 RSF will be net-zero emissions buildings.

+ Leverage private sector investment.

In accordance with the Energy Act of 2020, which requires agencies to complete at least 50 percent of all identified lifecycle cost effective energy and water savings measures through performance contracting, agencies will expand use of performance contracting to: improve efficiency; achieve energy, water, and GHG emission reductions; expand use of carbon pollution-free electricity, increase infrastructure resilience; modernize buildings; and, support achievement of net-zero goals.

  • In August 2022, the Biden Administration launched its Climate Smart Buildings Initiative. Through this Initiative, the Federal Government will partner with the private sector to upgrade existing Federal buildings—paying for today's needed renovations with tomorrow's energy savings without requiring upfront taxpayer funding.
+ Address equity.

Integrate equity into planning, evaluation, and assessment of investment benefits for underserved communities through Federal efforts taken to achieve the goal of reaching net-zero emissions buildings by 2045.

+ Drive sustainable and equitable siting.

CEQ will issue guidance to promote sustainable locations for Federal facilities and strengthen the vitality and livability of the communities in which Federal facilities are located. The guidance may address topics such as strategically locating Federal workplaces to promote efficient use of local infrastructure; expanding public transportation use and access; and aligning Federal real estate investment with local or regional planning, sustainability, and equitable economic development goals. Agencies must consider this guidance in their siting of Federal facilities.

+ Establish the Net-Zero Emissions Buildings Federal Leaders Working Group to drive strategy and implementation.

The Working Group will provide semiannual reports to the National Climate Task Force on actions, findings, and progress toward governmentwide goals.

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