The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) seek to reduce building-related energy consumption and dependence on foreign energy sources.
Title IX, Subtitle A, Section 914 of EPACT specifically directed the National Institute of Building Sciences to explore the potential for accelerating development of consensus-based voluntary standards to set requirements for less resource-intensive, more energy-efficient, high-performance buildings.
Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-058)
Section 914. Building Standards.
- Definition of High Performance Building – In this section, the term "high performance building" means a building that integrates and optimizes all major high-performance building attributes, including energy efficiency, durability, life-cycle performance, and occupant productivity.
- Assessment – Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall enter into an agreement with the National institute of Building Sciences to -
- conduct an assessment (in cooperation with industry, standards development organizations, and other entities, as appropriate) of whether the current voluntary consensus standards and rating systems for high performance buildings are consistent with the current technological state of the art, including relevant results from the research, development and demonstration activities of the Department;
- determine if additional research is required, based on the findings of the assessment; and
- recommend steps for the Secretary to accelerate the development of voluntary consensus-based standards for high performance buildings that are based on the findings of the assessment.
- Grant and Technical Assistance Program – Consistent with subsection (b) and section 12 (d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note), the Secretary shall establish a grant and technical assistance program to support the development of voluntary consensus-based standards for high performance buildings.
In response to Section 914 of EPACT, the High-Performance Building Council (HPBC) was formed in April 2007 and held three meetings during that year. They were attended by representatives from most of the major standards writing organizations, industry trade associations and nonprofit organizations, and federal government entities involved with the built environment. Council committees were created to research and examine eight individual building attributes in greater detail. The Council decided early on to address the attributes named in the Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG). The choice of these attributes was guided by two primary factors. First, attendees recognized that the Section 914 definition stressed that a high-performance building "...integrates and optimizes all major high-performance building attributes..." Second, the WBDG is a commonly referenced guideline that enumerates eight major building attributes: cost-effectiveness, sustainability, security and safety, accessibility, productivity, functionality, historic preservation, and aesthetics.
The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 establishes a new and aggressive plan for achieving energy independence in our nation’s building stock by the year 2030. The act requires that federal buildings (new and renovations) achieve fossil fuel-generated energy consumption reductions on the order of 55 percent in the year 2010 to 100 percent in 2030. The act also requires that sustainable design principles be applied to siting, design, and construction.
It is of note that the Act defines High-Performance Buildings as the integration and optimization on a life cycle basis all major high-performance attributes, including energy conservation, environment, safety, security, durability, accessibility, cost-benefit, productivity, sustainability, functionality, and operational considerations.
Energy Policy Act of 2005
SEC. 914. Building Standards.
(a) Definition of High Performance Building – In this section, the term "high performance building" means a building that integrates and optimizes all major high-performance building attributes, including energy efficiency, durability, life-cycle performance, and occupant productivity.
Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
TITLE IV - Energy Savings in Buildings and Industry
SEC. 401. Definitions.
(12) HIGH-PERFORMANCE BUILDING- The term 'high-performance building' means a building that integrates and optimizes on a life cycle basis all major high performance attributes, including energy conservation, environment, safety, security, durability, accessibility, cost-benefit, productivity, sustainability, functionality, and operational considerations.
The Council recognizes that the project is very large in scope and has immense value in real-dollar and social and environmental terms for the country at large. The Council's task was to charge the standards developing community to embrace a new paradigm for the design, construction, and operation of buildings based on credible life-cycle costing and environmental impact analysis, improved energy efficiency, reduced operation and maintenance costs, decreased property loss, and increased productivity.
The Council started its work using several assumptions. First, Section 914 was drafted recognizing that the building industry as currently structured, through both codes and standards, is primarily driven by establishing minimum requirements based largely on accepted industry performance levels that can be met by the existing manufacturing communities to achieve acceptable levels of public health and life safety. An owner following existing codes and standards has little guidance and inadequate metrics through which to take full and more coherent advantage of what a building asset can provide in terms of resource optimization.
Second, although the construction industry contributes over one trillion dollars to the yearly GDP, it is one of the last large-scale US business sectors to remain fragmented. Promoting a new paradigm can work toward aligning industry standards on the same visionary path. The Council agreed that such an approach could reduce misunderstandings and, in fact, remove a significant barrier to the increased implementation of high-performance buildings.
The Council is presently in the process of identifying high-performance building attributes, high-performance goals, primary indicators, performance metrics, high-performance benchmarks, standards and guidelines for establishing, verifying or validating these benchmarks. For more information see the Resources page or contact the Institute staff liaison.
Should you have any additional questions about the High Performance Building Council, please contact the Institute staff liaison to the HPBC or the HPBC Chair:
Roger J. Grant, CSI, CDT
Program Director, HBPC Liaison
National Institute of Building Sciences
1090 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 289-1092 Fax
Get W. Moy, PE
Associate Vice President
3101 Wilson Blvd, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22201
Institute Board Liaison
James Timberlake, FAIA