MIL-OSI USA: Biden-Harris Administration Announces $90 Million to Improve Building Efficiency, Increase Resilience, and Lower Costs for American Families and Businesses

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Source: US Department of Energy

As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $90 million in funding to support building energy code adoption, training, and technical assistance at the state and local level. The funding, which is the second installment in a $225 million program established by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, continues historic investment into state agencies, communities, and programs to successfully implement modern building codes. DOE estimates that from 2010 through 2040 energy codes will have saved homes and businesses $182 billion on utility bills and prevented as much carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere as that of 187 million gasoline-powered cars annually. Accelerating modern energy code adoption is a key component of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to lower energy costs for working families, make communities more resilient to climate change-fueled extreme weather events, and achieve the nation’s ambitious clean energy and climate goals. 

“Homes built with current energy codes are nearly 40% more efficient than those built just a few years ago, saving working families hundreds of dollars per year on their energy bills,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, DOE is helping state and local governments move further and faster in implementing stronger codes to improve energy efficiency and slash harmful, planet-warming pollutants from the places we call home.” 

Building codes, and in particular building energy codes, have a significant impact on building resilience and occupant safety, helping increase the amount of time people can shelter in place during and following extreme weather and power outages, including extreme heat and cold events that are increasing in severity and frequency as a result of climate change. Energy codes improve grid reliability, shelter-in-place capabilities, reduce mortality, and reduce property damage (e.g., frozen pipes, mold, etc.) during extended period of power outages. Funds awarded under the Resilient and Efficient Codes Implementation initiative will go to states, Tribal governments, and partner organizations to support the adoption and implementation of building energy codes and develop related technical assistance.  

Building energy codes establish energy efficiency standards for new buildings, additions, and major renovations in residential and commercial buildings. These codes are some of the most effective ways to improve energy efficiency, save consumers money, and reduce climate impacts. Building energy codes also ensure buildings are healthier, safer, and more resilient. The energy code is a critical component of the broader collection of modern building codes, which include provisions for fire, structural, mechanical, and plumbing systems that save lives, reduce property damage, and lower utility bills. DOE’s actions today aim to spur adoption of energy codes nationwide, in support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Initiative to Advance Building Codes, which aims to boost energy efficiency and make communities more resilient to hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other extreme weather events that climate change is intensifying.In July 2023, DOE awarded the first round of Resilient and Efficient Codes Implementation funding to 27 projects that included activities such as workforce development; community engagement; research and data collection; advancing energy, equity, and environmental justice; and increased support for compliance and enforcement. 

Applicants for the Resilient and Efficient Codes Implementation Program funding must include a relevant state or tribal government agency. DOE will prioritize teams that include strategic partnerships, such as with local building code agencies, codes and standards developers, or associations of builders and design and construction professionals. Projects must support an updated building code that increases energy efficiency. Additional criteria, including established need, long-term sustainability, and the ability to address equity, environmental justice, and resilience priorities, can be found here. 

This funding opportunity advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which set the goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of Federal climate, clean energy, and other covered investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.   

To apply to this  funding opportunity announcement, applicants must register with and submit application materials through EERE Exchange here. Applicants must submit a concept paper by 5:00 p.m. ET on the due date to be eligible to submit a full application. 

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is accelerating the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and solutions to support President Biden’s ambitious plan to transition America to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 2050. EERE is helping to ensure the clean energy economy benefits all Americans, including by creating good paying jobs for the American people—especially workers and disadvantaged communities impacted by the energy transition and those historically underserved by the energy system.  

For more information on DOE’s activities supporting building codes, visit the Building Energy Codes Program or see the full funding opportunity announcement.   

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