As part of a White House roundtable on building energy efficiency, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm recently announced sweeping actions to power more American buildings with cleaner, smarter, and more affordable energy services intended to sharply reduce the buildings sector’s contributions to the climate crisis.
“America’s path to a net-zero carbon economy runs straight through our buildings, which means we need to help households and commercial buildings across the nation reduce their emissions and convert to cheaper, cleaner energy,” said Secretary Granholm. “These new DOE investments and initiatives will help unlock new innovation for cleaner buildings, while preparing a strong, skilled, diverse American workforce to seize good-paying job opportunities right here at home.”
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), residential and commercial buildings account for more than one-third of the climate-altering carbon pollution America releases each year. They use about 40% of the nation’s energy, and waste more than $100 billion annually due to energy inefficiency. Federal leadership, in close coordination with state and local governments and in partnership with the private sector, unions, trades, researchers and other key stakeholders, will be needed to catalyze the deployment of these low-carbon solutions.
The actions announced are expected to cut the energy and emissions footprints of buildings by reducing their waste of polluting energy sources and integrating them with clean, electrified power. They reflect the latest examples of DOE’s whole-building approach to transform the construction, renovation, and operation of buildings and appliances, as well as empowering workers who build and maintain them:
Started in 2011, the Better Buildings Initiative has partnered with leaders in the public and private sectors to make the nation’s homes, commercial buildings, and industrial plants more energy efficient by accelerating investment upgrades and products and sharing successful best practices.
The 2021 Better Buildings Progress Report released the day of the announcement outlines the progress and collaboration of Better Buildings partners, which represent more than 30 of the country’s Fortune 100 companies, 12 of the top 25 U.S. employers, 12% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint, and 13% of total commercial building space, as well as 17 federal agencies, eight national laboratories, and more than 80 states and local governments.