DOE to award $45M in grants to update building codes

Published on December 27, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will award $45 million in competitive grants to help states and partnering organizations implement updated building energy codes.

This is the first installment of a five-year, $225 million program established by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support building energy code adoption, training, and technical assistance at the state and local levels. Modernizing the nation’s building codes is key to meeting Biden’s goal of a 100 percent clean electrical grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Building codes continue to be one of the most critical tools we have to improve energy efficiency and resilience in homes and businesses, which together account for more than one-third of emissions across the country,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this transformative investment will help more states bring their energy codes into the 21st Century—putting money back into the pockets of Americans everywhere while substantially cutting carbon emissions and tackling the climate crisis.”

Building energy codes establish minimum acceptable energy efficiency standards for new buildings, additions, and major renovations in residential and commercial buildings. Updated building codes can substantially improve energy efficiency, save consumers energy and money, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2040, the DOE estimates that these modern energy codes would save homes and businesses $138 billion on their utility bills, or about $162 per year per unit. They will also prevent about 900 million metric tons of carbon emissions through 2040.

Building energy codes also ensure buildings are healthier, safer, and more resilient, as they include provisions for fire, structural, mechanical, and plumbing systems. Despite these benefits, two out of every three communities in the United States have not adopted the latest building codes.

Applicants may now apply for the Resilient and Efficient Codes Implementation Program’s first $45 million disbursement. Applicants must include a state agency to be eligible. They may apply in strategic partnership with other organizations, such as state or local building departments, builders, contractors, architects, engineers, other design and construction professionals, academia, research, trade organizations, consumer advocates, regional energy efficiency organizations, and other stakeholder interests who play an important role supporting the implementation of building codes.