By SABINE ROGERS, U.S. Green Building Council
Washington DC, January 10, 2024 -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a new $530 million competitive funding opportunity to support adoption of the latest building energy codes, zero energy codes and building performance standards (BPS).
The announcement is the second phase in a $1 billion energy codes program created under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
States and units of local government with the authority to adopt building codes can apply, with award amounts anticipated to vary between $1 million and $20 million. Brief, two-page concept papers are due Feb. 9, after which DOE will encourage a subset of applicants to submit full applications by April 30.
Three overarching topic areas are eligible for grants:
- Adoption and implementation of the latest model energy codes—the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code for residential buildings and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019 for commercial buildings—or eligible zero energy codes (for local governments only);
- Adoption and implementation of the latest model energy codes or eligible zero energy codes with amendments if they achieve equivalent or greater energy savings compared to the original code (for states and local governments);
- Adoption and implementation of innovative building energy code approaches, including BPS and stretch codes, if they achieve equivalent or greater energy savings compared to a latest model energy code or zero energy code (for states and local governments).
Among these topic areas, BPS is a key focal point. BPS policies are an important strategy to improve performance of the existing building stock, since only new construction is typically subject to standard building energy codes. In the funding announcement, DOE indicates that a majority of the funding, up to $465 million total, could be made available for awards for BPS and other innovative approaches.
As the second half of the $1 billion IRA program, these competitive grants are designed to build upon the first $400 million in formula funding for states, with eligibility expanded to include qualifying localities and additional methods such as BPS. It is the only building code assistance from the IRA or the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law available to support adoption and implementation of BPS.
States and local governments that cannot meet the tight deadline for the competitive grants may have another opportunity to apply later. If funding remains after the first round of grants are awarded, up to two more application rounds are tentatively planned for fall 2024 and spring 2025.
DOE will host an informational webinar about the grants on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 2 p.m. ET.
If you would like to receive more updates on the IRA and our team’s federal and state advocacy work, consider joining our USGBC Advocacy Working Group.