Sustainable Solutions

Biden Administration Releases Decarbonization Plan for Homes and Buildings

A blueprint for decarbonizing buildings in the United States by 2050, including homes, was released by the U.S. Department of Energy. The plan, centered on equity and benefits to communities, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings 65% by 2035 and 90% by 2050 compared to 2005 emissions. It is a non-binding document that does not make specific regulatory or policy proposals, and was created in consultation with other federal agencies and includes many state, local and federal policy ideas.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), The plan does note that existing buildings and homes, especially in disadvantaged communities, are a major source of carbon emissions and most buildings that exist today will still exist in 2050, necessitating an extensive retrofit effort. The document, however, does not offer any new funding solutions for what it notes is the main driver of heating and cooling loads in buildings: The envelope in residential buildings and ventilation in commercial buildings.

In discussing retrofitting or remodeling, DOE noted that it may need to develop contractor standards to “increase the likelihood of quality work performance,” and offered its Energy Skilled certification as an example.

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