New Federal Buildings Performance Standard Means Reduced Emissions and Healthier Buildings

Buildings are a Leading Source of Emissions for the Federal Government

Shannon Van Hoesen,

Washington, DC - The first ever Federal Buildings Performance Standard was announced today by the Biden-Harris Administration to cut pollution from buildings and lower the government’s energy costs through energy efficiency upgrades and electrification. Buildings contribute more than 25% of the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions, so this is an important step towards achieving climate goals and making federally owned buildings clean and healthy. 

The standard will seek to achieve a reduction in scope 1 emissions in 30% of federal buildings by 2030 through efficient electrification. Alongside the White House’s announcement, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a proposed rule to electrify and cut emissions from new or newly renovated federal buildings to decrease taxpayer costs, reduce emissions, and increase energy security.   

This new performance standard is the result of last year’s executive order requiring 100% carbon pollution-free electricity, including wind and solar, to power all government operations by 2030. It also requires the modernization of all federal buildings by ensuring that new building construction and major building retrofits increase efficiency, electrify systems, and strengthen sustainability. 

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) set the foundation for the federal government’s ability  to achieve these new performance standards for buildings. The IRA is making cleaner buildings more achievable, accessible, and affordable through increased production of energy efficient appliances, like heat pumps.   

In response, Director of Sierra Club’s Building Electrification Campaign Jessica Tritsch released the following statement:

“We are excited that the Biden Administration is making good on its promise to set a strong performance standard for federal buildings. This will lead to a large reduction in emissions and more energy efficient and healthier buildings that do not burn dangerous fossil fuels, like oil and gas. The transition to non-emitting, electric buildings is not only an essential component of any decarbonization strategy, but it is also an opportunity to improve people’s everyday lives, create family-sustaining jobs, and improve indoor and outdoor air quality. We will continue to work with the Biden administration to make sure that clean, healthy buildings are achievable and accessible for any business or family.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit