The Biden Administration is looking to set building emission standards in an effort to help developers navigate a patchwork of state and local policies.
Commercial and residential buildings make up nearly one-third of US emissions. As climate change has continued to intensify, policymakers at the state and local levels have pushed to enact building energy performance standards, or BEPS, with the hope of reducing pollution in their communities. The state of Maryland & Howard County are both exploring enacting BEPS, while Montgomery County enacted its own earlier this spring. In an effort to provide more clarity to the building sector, the federal government is looking at enacting its own set of building emissions standards – defining what a “zero emissions” building is. Important for counties, the federal standards will be nonbinding and, therefore, will not conflict with county policy.
According to the Washington Post,
The new building standard will have “three pillars,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly. It will require buildings to be energy efficient, produce no on-site emissions and use 100 percent renewable energy, according to the official.
The main benefactor to any federal standards will be major property owners and developers who have projects across the nation. It is doubtful that binding federal BEPS are coming anytime soon. The President is unable to enact such requirements on his own, and the current Congress is unlikely to pass such a far-reaching measure.