Biden administration issues voluntary guidelines for no-emission buildings

The Biden administration on Thursday offered up a definition for what is considered a zero-emission building, as part of an effort to reduce building emissions around the country.

The new definition is completely voluntary — but seeks to help industry figure out how to move toward cutting the structures’ contributions to climate change.

“The National Definition of a Zero Emissions Building will support the sector as it advances innovative solutions essential to creating resilient communities and high-quality jobs,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a written statement.

In order to be considered zero-emission, a building must be energy efficient, have no onsite emissions from its energy use and be powered only by carbon-free power sources.

When accounting for both direct and indirect emissions (like electricity usage), residential and commercial buildings made up 31 percent of the U.S.’s planet-warming emissions in 2022.

The administration separately issued another voluntary effort aimed at helping the private sector operate in a more climate-friendly manner last week: laying out principles for carbon credit integrity.

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