Awardees will provide technical assistance for updating state and local building codes, which are projected to save Americans $138 billion on their utility bills and reduce 900 million metric tons of CO2 emissions by 2040. Modernizing energy codes is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses and make communities more resilient to extreme weather events, which are key to addressing the climate crisis and achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious clean energy goals.
“Cutting emissions from buildings across America and ensuring they’re more energy efficient are critical components of President Biden’s plan to tackle the climate crisis and create cleaner and healthier communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
“With unprecedented support from the President’s Investing in America agenda, the Department is providing new funding to help cities and states modernize their building codes — lowering energy costs for American families and businesses while improving public health.”
Homes built to today’s energy codes are 40% more efficient than homes built 15 years ago, making energy costs a smaller fraction of household expenses, insulating hard-working families and underserved from communities from volatile fossil fuel prices. Energy codes substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also lowering builder risk. President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is bringing the benefits of energy codes to communities that need them most including environmental justice communities, rural communities, and underserved communities.
Today, America’s 130 million commercial and residential buildings are responsible for 35% of the nation’s total carbon emissions. Energy codes establish minimum standards for energy efficiency in new and renovated buildings and help ensure they are healthier, safer, and more resilient.
Through 2040, building energy codes are estimated to save Americans $138 billion on their utility bills and reduce 900 million metric tons of CO2 emissions — an amount roughly equivalent to the combined annual emissions of 108 million homes.
To realize these immense cost-saving and public health benefits, it is critical that states and local governments update their building codes based on the latest technologies and construction practices and support their successful application. However, two out of every three communities in the U.S. have not adopted the latest building codes in part due to a lack of available resources to support their implementation.
These awards seek to address this challenge, and help states and local governments across the country adopt and implement modern construction standards. This announcement builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Initiative to Advance Building Codes, which supports energy and building codes and standards that save lives, reduce property damage, cut utility bills, and create good-paying jobs while advancing environmental and energy justice priorities.
Resilient and Efficient Codes Implementation
The 27 awarded projects were selected following a robust stakeholder engagement process and target partnerships across the range of energy code stakeholders who play an important role supporting the successful implementation of building codes. These awards encompass a number of key activities supporting energy code updates and implementation, including workforce development, community engagement, research and data collection, energy, equity and environmental justice, and increased support for compliance and enforcement.
Selected projects include:
Additional award highlights include projects in Alaska where local communities and tribes will work together in energy code implementation; workforce development in Kansas and Missouri that include union partners to brings energy codes to rural communities; partnerships with unions and community groups in Massachusetts to bring energy codes to environmental justice communities; workforce development in Ohio and southeastern states with a focus on training on Building Performance Standards for retrofits; and municipal, contractor and union partnerships in Wisconsin to bring energy codes to more municipalities.
For a full list of projects, please click here.