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DOE releases RFI on developing national definition for a Zero Emissions Building

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DOE releases RFI on developing national definition for a Zero Emissions Building

The project is intended to help move the building sector to zero emissions.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | January 8, 2024
Image by 652234 from Pixabay - DOE releases RFI on developing national definition for a Zero Emissions Building
Image by 652234 from Pixabay

The Department of Energy released a Request for Information (RFI) for feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on a draft national definition for a Zero Emissions Building.

Responses will help serve as a clear market signal and consistent target, backed by measurable data, that is intended to help move the building sector to zero emissions, according to a statement from DOE. Developing a broadly accepted common definition of a zero emissions building, as well as a pathway for verification, is foundational to transition the building sector to zero emissions, the statement says.

The definition will act as a framework, offering designers and builders multiple pathways to influence the design and operation of buildings to reduce building sector emissions. Almost 30% of U.S. GHG emissions are from operating buildings, with 13% of U.S. GHG emissions from direct burning of fossil fuels within buildings.

Buildings contribute an even higher percentage of U.S. GHG emissions when factoring in emissions from construction materials and refrigerants. Part 1 of the definition will focus on zero operating emissions. Future parts of this definition will likely include embodied carbon, refrigerants, and other key elements.

As is proposed currently, the definition of a zero operating emissions building is one that is:

  • Highly energy efficient
  • Free of on-site emissions from energy use
  • Powered solely from clean energy

Part 1 of the draft definition in full, which includes details on the criteria above, is available at: https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/national-definition-zero-emissions-building. 

Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to https://forms.office.com/g/Y0Ss3UFdL3, no later than 5:00 pm (ET) on Feb. 5, 2024.

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