News Analysis

Building Carbon Caps to Scale Up with New Coalition

Building performance standards like NYC’s carbon limits could spread across the U.S. as the Biden administration assists 33 jurisdictions that have joined a new coalition.

Building electrification and embodied carbon standards for new construction are all well and good, but they leave the U.S.’s massive stock of existing buildings behind. That’s where building performance standards come in. Jurisdictions like New York City and Washington, D.C. have already adopted such standards, which require existing buildings to meet certain carbon or energy caps. These laws have teeth: owners face fines if they can’t hit the mark.

Building performance standards are designed to encourage energy efficiency and retrofits—and are also likely to impact design of new buildings—and now the Biden administration is using funds from the recently signed infrastructure act to assist a coalition of 33 jurisdictions in developing them by Earth Day 2024. Engagement with frontline communities to help ensure equitable implementation is integral to the program.

Published January 31, 2022

Melton, P. (2022, January 28). Building Carbon Caps to Scale Up with New Coalition. Retrieved from