DOE Announces $400M for Building Energy Codes

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Executive Summary:

  • DOE releases guidance and applications for $400 million to states for building energy codes to improve energy efficiency.
  • DOE claims homes built to current codes are 40% more efficient than those from 15 years ago.
  • Adopting the latest model energy codes could save energy equivalent to powering all U.S. households for a year.
  • U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm emphasizes need to revamp infrastructure.
  • Two categories in ALRD:
    • $240 million for the latest building energy code.
    • $160 million for zero energy provisions in the 2021 IECC.
  • States can opt-in for funding; letters of intent due by November 21st.

Unedited Press Release Text:

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $400 Million for States to Improve Building Energy Efficiency, Save Consumers Money, and Make Buildings More Climate Resilient

Department of Energy Makes Funding from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda Available to Help States Adopt and Implement Latest Building Energy Codes and Zero Energy Codes, Saving Consumers Up to $178 Billion Over 30 Years, Announcement Comes During Climate Week 2023 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In support of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released program guidance and opened applications for $400 million in formula funding to states and territories for adopting and implementing building energy codes that reduce utility bills, increase efficiency, lower greenhouse gas emissions that fuel the climate crisis, and make buildings more resilient to climate disasters.  Funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the largest climate and clean energy investment in history, states can now access this funding for the adoption and implementation of the latest building energy codes and zero energy codes, paving the way for cleaner, more efficient buildings across the country. The announcement comes during Climate Week 2023— an annual gathering of civil society leaders, business leaders, students, and advocates who are committed to taking bold climate action.  

Homes built to today’s energy codes are nearly 40% more efficient than homes built just 15 years ago, dramatically cutting energy costs for consumers. If all states updated to the latest model energy codes, over the course of 30 years, this action would save enough energy to power all households in the United States for a full year. Switching to the updated energy codes would equate to almost 2 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions reduction, the equivalent of removing over 445 million gas powered cars from the road over the same 30 years.   

“A transition to a clean energy economy is about more than adding clean energy to the electric grid; we also need to revitalize, and fortify, the infrastructure we have now,” says U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, this funding will ensure that states and local communities have the tools necessary to lead the way in increasing the performance and the overall health of buildings through energy codes, vastly improving infrastructure across the country and improving local communities’ health and well-being.”  

The Inflation Reduction Act provides $1 billion for state and local governments to adopt and implement the latest building energy codes, zero energy building codes, or equivalent codes and standards. Through today’s Administrative and Legal Requirements Document (ALRD), DOE  has released a portion of this funding through formula to support states in undertaking the advancement of more-efficient building energy codes.  

This ALRD provides federal guidance in adopting and implementing two categories of building energy codes: 

  • $240 million will be available to adopt and implement the latest building energy code, the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential buildings and the ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1–2019 for commercial buildings, or other codes that achieve equivalent or greater energy savings.
  • $160 million will be available to adopt and implement the zero energy provisions in the 2021 IECC, or other codes with equivalent or greater energy savings. 

With this ALRD, states will have support in adopting, implementing, enforcing, and measuring compliance rates of specified building energy codes, while training and educating their workforce and building localized capacity. These activities will improve residential and commercial new construction and major renovations, and help transition the infrastructure in these states to include more efficient, more-resilient decarbonized buildings for all. Interested states will need to opt-in to reserve their funding for these awards, with letters of intent due to DOE by November 21st. 

DOE intends to release a complimentary competitive funding announcement that will provide direct support to states and local governments with code adoption authority for more innovative code approaches, including building performance standards, in the following months. 

Through the Office of State and Community Energy Programs, DOE is overseeing the administration of this program while ensuring that nonprofits, industry leaders, and states are prepared to deliver the energy efficiency projects needed to decarbonize buildings and create inclusive workforce training initiatives. This program  advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, ensuring that 40 percent of the overall benefits of federal clean energy investments make a difference in communities that are energy burdened and disadvantaged.  

It also aligns with President Biden’s National Initiative to Advance Building Codes, which is accelerating adoption of modern building codes that protect people from extreme-weather events and save communities an estimated $1.6 billion a year in avoided damages. 

For more information, visit the IRA Funded Technical Assistance for Building Energy Codes program webpage.  



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