In the mid-1970s, Congress recognized that inadequate energy conservation features in newly constructed residential and commercial buildings were contributing to excessive use of fuel and energy consumption for heating, cooling, ventilating, and water heating. The Energy Conservation Standards for New Buildings Act created federal voluntary performance standards to prevent wasteful energy use and to lower long-term operating costs for newly constructed buildings. The Act also requires state and local agencies to implement similar building codes and features, in compliance with the minimum federal energy conservation standards.
As of 1992, states are given two years to certify their residential energy codes with the Secretary and comply with updated federal codes such as Council of American Building Officials' (CABO) Model Energy Code of 1992. Under the revised Act, the Secretary must periodically review the energy standards established under the Federal Buildings energy section to determine if upgrading standards would result in a significant decrease of energy consumption.