United States Adds $530M in Funding Grants Available for Building Energy Programs

Pedestrians and traffic between buildings in New York City.

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by | Dec 20, 2023

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The Biden administration announced $530 million in technical assistance competitive grants are available for building energy efficiency initiatives.

The Latest and Zero Building Energy Codes program aims to fund efforts for the adoption and implementation of the latest model energy codes, zero energy codes, building performance standards, and innovative codes for energy savings equivalent to the latest model and zero energy codes.

The program is distributed through the Department of Energy’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP). The funding stems from the Inflation Reduction Act, which has helped bring about a wave of new renewable energy projects as well thanks to funding and new incentives. 

The legislation is the largest climate investment in history, with $1 billion to modernize the country’s building stock through state and local action on building codes. The actions will help save money on energy costs and make buildings more resilient to extreme weather events. In the United States, building emissions account for about 8.6% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and designative buildings as the fourth largest contributor of emissions, behind, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

“Shaping a clean energy future for cities and neighborhoods requires a whole system approach that includes modernizing the building stock to use less energy and be more resilient in the face of increasing natural disasters,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in the announcement. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re supporting states and local governments as they adopt and implement proven solutions that will save consumers money, reduce climate pollution, and build a place-based workforce of well-paid, in-demand jobs for local community members.” 

Building Energy Efficiency Grows but Continued Improvement Needed

According to the DOE, building energy codes today are 40% more efficient compared to homes built 15 years ago.

If all states updated their building codes to the latest model energy codes, the energy savings over the course of 30 years could power all homes in the United States for a full year. Updating energy codes would also reduce up to 2 billion metric tons of carbon emissions over the same 30-year period. Earlier this month, the European Union also approved rules to improve energy use and lower emissions in buildings.

The U.S. grant program is open to states, territories, and units of local government that have the authority to adopt building codes. It also comes after another formula funding announcement for states and territories, but the new competitive grant funding expands the pool of eligible grantees, according to the DOE.

States and localities that receive grant funds “can coordinate to develop a workforce with skills of the latest building technologies, including how to properly install and operate to deliver affordable, healthy buildings,” the agency said. Those wishing to pursue the grants can apply until Jan. 31, 2024.

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