Commercial Building Codes and Standards

Photo of two inspectors looking at a clipboard on a commercial building site with the steel frame of a commercial building in the background.

Local code officials enforce building energy codes.
Credit: iStockphoto

Once an energy-efficient technology or practice is widely available in the market, it can become the baseline of performance through building energy codes and equipment standards. The Building Technologies Office (BTO) provides support to states and local governments as they adopt and monitor commercial building code as well as builders working to meet and exceed code. BTO also develops test procedures and minimum efficiency standards for commercial equipment.

Building Energy Codes

DOE encourages using new technologies and better building practices to improve energy efficiency. Mandating building energy efficiency by including it in state and local codes is an effective strategy for achieving that goal. The Building Energy Codes Program works with the International Code Council (ICC), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), American Institute of Architects (AIA), the building industry, and state and local officials to develop and promote more stringent and easy-to-understand building energy codes and to assess potential code barriers to new energy-efficient technologies.

For detailed information regarding advanced building energy codes, go to the Energy Codes section of this website.

Appliance and Equipment Standards

The Building Technologies Office has reduced energy costs for consumers and businesses by billions of dollars, as well as reduced the associated energy use and emissions, through setting minimum energy performance standards for appliances and commercial equipment. To date, every Federal dollar spent has resulted in an average of $650 in net savings, and has also helped spur product innovation. As of 2010, consumers and businesses are saving $15 billion per year, and this annual amount is expected to nearly double by 2025. Savings from these standards free up money to be spent elsewhere, spurring economic growth.

For detailed information regarding BTO's Appliance and Equipment Standards work, go to the Appliance Standards section of this website.