Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Lower Energy Costs and Enhance Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing
In an effort to lower energy costs, improve housing quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Biden-Harris Administration has announced a series of new actions and investments. These initiatives, part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, aim to incorporate climate risk and mitigation into federally-supported housing, benefiting hard-working families across the nation.
One of the key measures is the release of more than $830 million funding for the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program (GRRP) under the Inflation Reduction Act. The GRRP, the largest program of its kind initiated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), focuses on energy efficiency, emissions reduction, clean energy, and climate resilience strategies for HUD-assisted multifamily housing. This funding will help families save on energy costs while enhancing climate resilience.
To make homes more energy efficient, HUD, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are proposing the adoption of the latest energy codes for new homes. These codes will improve performance, efficiency, and cost savings for homeowners and renters. Additionally, HUD will prioritize the use of building materials with lower embodied carbon, aligning with the Federal Buy Clean Initiative and promoting sustainable construction practices.
The administration is also taking steps to make solar power more affordable and accessible. HUD is facilitating subscriptions to local community solar projects for residents of master-metered HUD-assisted housing. This initiative aims to enable approximately 4.5 million families to benefit from community solar, resulting in significant savings on electric bills.
Efforts are also underway to track and reduce energy waste in multifamily buildings through benchmarking and assessment of energy and water usage. By identifying areas of improvement, these measures will help save money for residents and contribute to overall energy conservation.
In order to protect vulnerable communities from climate and disaster risks, HUD’s Office of Field and Policy Management is implementing a risk and equity assessment tool. This tool will aid communities in developing plans to mitigate climate-related risks while supporting underserved populations. The Federal Housing Administration has also updated its Environmental Assessment to include climate impacts over the lifespan of mortgages, encouraging climate-resilient construction practices.
These actions align with President Biden’s commitment to advancing building codes and standards that promote safety, reduce property damage, and cut utility bills. They contribute to the administration’s goal of retrofitting four million buildings and two million homes during the president’s first term.
The announcements come on the heels of the U.S. General Services Administration’s significant funding announcement supporting net-zero retrofits of federal buildings. These retrofits align with President Biden’s objective of achieving net-zero emissions in the federal buildings portfolio by 2045.
By prioritizing energy efficiency, clean energy, and climate resilience, the Biden-Harris Administration aims to create a clean energy economy that benefits hard-working families, protects public health, and addresses the climate crisis. These measures will not only lower energy costs and improve housing quality but also contribute to a sustainable and equitable future for all Americans.