The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a rule aimed at ensuring federal buildings use proper energy certifications. The rule, which goes into effect November 13, makes certain that in cases where agencies choose to use green building certification systems to meet federal sustainability and energy standards, they must select a system that verifies enhanced energy efficiency from certain private-sector certifications.

“By requiring re-assessments at least every four years, the rule will ensure energy … savings continue well beyond the initial building opening or retrofit,” DOE officials wrote in a statement. “System requirements for the verification of energy … performance in new construction and major renovations will lead to reduced consumption through active energy … management.”

The DOE says the considered use of green building rating systems will advance the performance of federal buildings by focusing on modernized, integrated building systems that minimize inefficiencies and waste. The Department will provide a webinar in November to further discuss requirements.

Tom Culp of Birch Point Consulting says that while windows certainly play an important role in an energy efficient building, “a lot of the focus [with the rule] will be on both initial and ongoing commissioning of mechanical systems.

“It is more continuing the focus on actual delivered energy efficiency in the real world after the building is occupied—not just as it was initially designed—similar to the initiatives in several cities to require building owners to disclose their actual energy use.”

Culp, however, notes that one positive with the rule relating to glass is that it “could encourage better commissioning and tuning of daylighting controls to ensure the optimum daylighting energy savings and performance of the space are attained.”

Private sector certifications eligible under the rule include the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the Green Building Initiatives’ (GBI) Green Globes. The final rule was issued October 10.