Teams Needed for Residential Energy Efficient Program
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has recently launched a new effort to address the energy and climate impacts of existing housing through the Building America program. Residential buildings currently account for 21% of energy use and 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., a significant contributor to the country’s carbon footprint and climate crisis. With nearly 142 million existing homes and 1.6 million new homes added to the inventory every year, the idea of changing these statistics feels staggering.
| 4/26/2023 12:16:59 PM
Programs like ENERGY STAR for New Homes and the Zero Energy Ready Home Program have made new home improvements accessible for most home builders, but existing homes have not seen such consistent and market-scale improvement. Disadvantaged communities, including people of color and low-income residents, have higher rates of pollution exposure and are more vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change. Without a focus on building performance, our buildings and their lack of performance exacerbate these problems.
The Building America program is calling for proposals to encourage communities, state and local governments, researchers, market-based programs, building product manufacturers, and more to form “Building America Retrofit Solutions Teams” to develop and implement strong, large-scale retrofit programs. The goal is to improve the performance of existing homes, reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, improve occupant health, safety, and comfort, and make our homes more durable in the face of natural disasters.
Improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of existing homes is a daunting task. Weatherization programs and remodeling contractors have been working on this issue for generations, but it remains complicated due to the complexity of technology, process, and consumer understanding. The Building America program aims to encourage collaboration between various stakeholders to solve these problems and develop broadly useful solutions that can decarbonize our existing housing stock.
The Building America program is calling for proposals from communities, government and non-government organizations, remodelers and contractors, researchers, market-based programs, manufacturers, and more. The success of this program will depend on the participation and collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders. With a focus on developing and implementing strong, large-scale retrofit programs, the Building America program offers hope for addressing the energy and climate impacts of existing housing and creating a more sustainable future for all.
Interested in participating? Check out the formal request for proposals here. Applications are due May 9, 2023.