The energy performance standards for buildings proposed by the Department of Energy fall short of their potential to "produce" conservation energy, asserts a new report from a coalition interested in energy use.

The Consumer Energy Council of America -- a coalition of consumer, labor, farm, power and civic groups -- also predicted energy conservation in new construction will have a substantial effect on the nation's fuel expenditures in the future.

The report said on the subject of new energy performance standards for federal buildings that "virtually every conservation option for new buildings -- including active solar heating -- is cost-justified over the 30-year mortgage life of most buildings."

Ellen Berman, executive director of the coalition, said the 400-page report from CECA shows "that energy conservation in buildings can save more energy than any other conservation strategy."

"As the regulations now stand, those individuals who choose to use solar are at a disadvantage vis-a-vis conventional conservation techniques," Berman commented. "Solar homes require a complex calculation procedure in order to comply with building energy performance standards, while conventional homes are allowed to follow a simple building code."

Meanwhile, the American Institute of Architects has urged both major political parties to mobilize the nation's resources and government agencies to implement a comprehensive national energy policy based on energy efficiency and conservation. AIA spokesmen told party platform-makers that "alternative sources of energy remain a relatively minor national policy consideration" and that "improved energy efficiency is largely ignored."

AIA, which was represented by first vice president William Vosbeck of Alexandria and executive vice president David Meeker Jr., stressed that "by improving the design of new buildings and through modification of older ones, approximately 20 percent of the current total U.S. energy use could be saved."

In another energy-related statement, the National Institute of Building Sciences charged that the building energy performance standards proposed by the Department of Energy for new housing and buildings are "unacceptable" in their present form and should not be issued as scheduled Aug. 14.