June 18, 2024

DOE Releases First Ever Federal Blueprint to Decarbonize America’s Buildings Sector

First Comprehensive Federal Strategy Outlines Pathways to Reduce Emissions 90% in Buildings Sector by 2050, Reinforcing President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to Lower Energy Costs, Improve Resilience, and Tackle the Climate Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Biden-Harris Administration today released Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy by 2050: A National Blueprint for the Buildings Sector, a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions from buildings by 65% by 2035 and 90% by 2050. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) led the Blueprint’s development in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other federal agencies. The Blueprint is the first sector-wide strategy for building decarbonization developed by the federal government, underscoring President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to cutting harmful carbon emissions and achieving the nation’s ambitious clean energy and climate goals. 

“America’s building sector accounts for more than a third of the harmful emissions jeopardizing our air and health, but the Biden-Harris Administration has developed a forward-looking strategy to slash these pollutants from buildings across the nation,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “As part of a whole-of-government approach, DOE is outlining for the first time ever a comprehensive federal plan to reduce energy in our homes, schools, and workplaces—lowering utility bills and creating healthier communities while combating the climate crisis.”   

Buildings account for more than one third of domestic climate pollution and $370 billion in annual energy costs. Reducing GHG emissions from buildings is essential to reaching the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.The Blueprint projects reductions of 90% of total GHG emissions from the buildings sector, which will save consumers more than $100 billion in annual energy costs and avoid $17 billion in annual health costs. 

One in five Americans lives in a household that is at least one month behind on its energy bills, according to the U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey.

Economically disadvantaged communities are more likely to face energy insecurity due to high energy costs. They are also more likely to suffer from the effects of substandard building conditions and health-harming pollution. To address these inequities, the Blueprint emphasizes affordability through reduced energy and technology costs, as well as measures that would help make communities more resilient to power outages and climate change-fueled extreme weather events.  

To reach the overall emissions reduction targets for the buildings sector, the Blueprint sets four strategic objectives:  

  • Increasing building energy efficiency
  • Accelerating onsite emissions reductions
  • Transforming the interactions between buildings and the electricity grid
  • Minimizing the emissions from producing, transporting, installing, and disposing of building materials  

Each objective has specific performance targets and market, policy, and technology milestones to reach by 2035 and 2050. Meeting these targets will require accelerated deployment of a wide range of decarbonization and energy efficiency technologies. The Blueprint outlines coordinated federal actions that can increase the speed and scale with which these solutions are deployed. Those actions include funding research and development to develop lower-cost technologies, expanding markets for low-carbon technologies, providing direct funding and financing, and supporting the development and implementation of emissions-reducing building codes and appliance standards. In line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to help ensure the benefits of the clean energy transition flow directly to impacted communities, the Blueprint also outlines ways that federal agencies can support state, local, and Tribal decarbonization objectives.  

To achieve these goals, DOE is focused on building innovations in three pivotal areas: building upgrades, efficient electrification, and smart controls. DOE’s approach strives to advance scalable technologies and installation solutions for affordable-housing residents while expanding workforce capabilities at the state and local levels. 

DOE’s Affordable Home Energy Shot™, which aims to reduce the upfront cost of upgrading a home by at least 50% and reduce energy bills by 20% within a decade, will accelerate progress toward the emissions-reduction targets established in the Blueprint. To learn more about DOE’s efforts to improve the efficiency and affordability of America’s building stock, visit the Building Technologies Office homepage.  

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

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