The recently passed $1 trillion infrastructure bill, part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan, has about $5 billion set aside for a wide range of programs to boost energy efficiency in buildings.
The money is geared to reduce electricity use in buildings, improve the materials used to build them, and train people to design, build, and maintain energy-efficient buildings. The funds are crucial for accelerating innovation in deep energy retrofits and building electrification, which are critical steps to reducing carbon emissions, green advocates say.
The lion’s share of funding focused on buildings is a $3.5 billion injection into the weatherization assistance program. Geared to dwellings owned or occupied by people with low incomes, the program provides money to upgrade residences with better insulation, windows, roofing, and heating and cooling devices.
A $225 million grant program is being established to help understaffed and underfunded local governments upgrade building codes. In the long run, this provision may be one of the bill’s most impactful measures.