Biden Administration Sets 2030 Deadline to Eliminate Fossil Fuels in New Federal Buildings

The Biden admin finalizes new standards to eliminate fossil fuels in new federal buildings by 2030, reducing emissions and driving down costs of energy-efficient appliances.

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Waqas Arain
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Biden Administration Sets 2030 Deadline to Eliminate Fossil Fuels in New Federal Buildings

Biden Administration Sets 2030 Deadline to Eliminate Fossil Fuels in New Federal Buildings

The Biden administration has finalized new standards that will eliminate the use of fossil fuels in new federal buildings and those undergoing major renovations by 2030. The Clean Energy for New Federal Buildings and Major Renovations of Federal Buildings Rule, recently announced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), aims to significantly reduce carbon emissions from federal buildings over the next three decades.

Under the new rule, fossil fuel usage in new federal building construction or major renovation projects must be decreased by 90% for those started between fiscal years 2025 and 2029. Beginning in 2030, onsite fossil fuel usage will be completely eliminated in all new projects. The DOE defines 'major' renovations as those costing $3.8 million or more and includes an option for limited, case-by-case exemptions.

Why this matters: The new standards are expected to have far-reaching benefits, including reducing carbon emissions from federal buildings by 2 million metric tons and methane emissions by 16,000 tons over the next 30 years. This is equivalent to the emissions generated by nearly 310,000 homes in one year. The rule will also help drive down the costs of energy-efficient, electric appliances by leveraging the buying power of the federal government.

The Biden administration projects that the emission cuts will save $8 million in taxpayer funds over the next three decades. The rule, along with other Federal Sustainability Plan actions, aims to help achieve the goal of net-zero emissions in federal buildings by 2045. The DOE's Federal Energy Management Program will provide agencies with guidance, resources, and technical assistance to meet these targets.

The new standards, mandated by a bipartisan law passed in 2007, build upon previous actions taken by the Biden administration to improve the energy efficiency of federal buildings. In 2022, the administration introduced a federal standard that required at least 30% of federal buildings to cut direct greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2030 and announced the installation of rooftop solar panels on the Pentagon as part of the first round of $250 million in awards.

The Sierra Club has praised the finalized rule, stating that it will have significant benefits on the health of employees, grid reliability, and overall costs for taxpayers and consumers. The DOE expects the new standards to reduce carbon emissions from federal buildings by 2 million metric tons and methane emissions by 16,000 tons over the next 30 years, equivalent to the emissions generated by nearly 310,000 homes in one year.

Key Takeaways

  • New federal building standards eliminate fossil fuels by 2030, reducing emissions.
  • Standards mandate 90% fossil fuel reduction for projects from 2025-2029, then full elimination.
  • Projected to save $8 million in taxpayer funds and cut 2M metric tons of CO2 emissions.
  • Builds on previous Biden admin actions to improve federal building energy efficiency.
  • Sierra Club praises the rule for health, grid, and cost benefits for taxpayers and consumers.