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How Biden may positively impact global building energy efficiency standards

The new US President, Joe Biden, is rejoining the 2015 Paris Climate Accord four years after Donald Trump pulled the US out of the agreement. As such, we can expect to see a raft of new policies to help improve US energy efficiency.

America’s leadership is likely to renew focus on energy efficiency globally, including in the UK.

We can expect policy changes across the board, from green energy tech to recycling to improvements in home energy efficiency (which would include air tightness testing codes).

It will take time for these specific policies to have their desired impact. That said, we shouldn’t underestimate what the US has achieved in the last decade or so.

The US has been a longtime leader in energy efficiency for buildings. While codes are instituted at state level, the US has among the strictest requirements for building envelope, heating and cooling, and lighting.

The US has instituted 52 appliance and equipment standards, 40 of which came into force under President Obama. However, under Donald Trump many proposed standards were shelved. As the ACEEE.org concludes in its 2018 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard:

“The administration’s current freeze on appliance standards activity threatens not only future energy savings but also US global leadership on this front. The freeze indefinitely delays almost 20 energy efficiency standards with a potential to save American residents and businesses billions of dollars on energy bills.”

How countries compare on building standards

Comparing nations in terms of energy efficiency – particularly as it relates to home design and construction – is challenging. For example, different average home sizes, different climates, and varnance in the quality of data all make comparisons tricky. However, the ACEEE.org data is the best we have.

In terms of buildings energy efficiency, Spain is ranked 1st, followed by France, the UK, and Netherlands in joint 2nd place. Germany and Italy were ranked 5th, while China was ranked 7th.

The US was ranked 12th, behind Poland, Mexico, Australia and Turkey.

However, if the new president remains true to his green credentials, we can expect the US to climb this ranking, giving Western Europe a run for its money and helping to reduce heating bills while benefiting the environment.

Air tightness testing from ATT

Here at Air Tightness Testing Ltd., we work with various stakeholders during the design and construction of buildings across England, with a view to ensuring all necessary air tightness tests are passed.

If you require an experienced, professional air tightness testing service, get in touch with our team today.


iATS Registered and UKAS Recognised


We are registered with iATS (Independent AirTightness Testing Scheme) and use equipment calibrated by UKAS laboratories. Our testing procedures are also recognised by UKAS.