President Biden has outlined a bold plan for improved energy efficiency. Now it’s time for the administration and Congress to execute.

By Paula Glover, Alliance to Save Energy President

Perhaps more than any president in history, President Biden has made improving energy efficiency in American homes and buildings a top priority in his economic and environmental platform. According to the American Jobs Plan summary, “President Biden’s plan will create good jobs building, rehabilitating, and retrofitting affordable, accessible, energy efficient, and resilient housing, commercial buildings, schools, and child care facilities all over the country.” And in the President’s remarks before Congress in April of this year, he stated that “the American Jobs Plan will put engineers and construction workers to work building more energy-efficient buildings and homes.”

Homes and buildings account for about 40% of U.S. energy consumption and a similar share of greenhouse gas emissions. Regardless of decarbonization progress through adding renewable energy resources to the power grid, we have little chance of meeting President Biden’s identified goal of reducing carbon emissions 50% by 2030 without sharply reducing energy demand through energy efficiency. In fact, the International Energy Agency anticipates energy efficiency to account for nearly half of the emissions reductions needed to meet Paris Agreement targets by 2050.

Getting there, however, will not be easy, and will require intentional and focused energy policy specifically connected to the built environment. In the American Jobs Plan and recent corresponding legislative proposals, the federal government has begun to target some priority areas:

  • Affordable housing: Energy efficiency often does not reach those who need it most, with millions of low-income families paying more than 10% of their income on energy bills. We can address this by significantly expanding programs like the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which provides funding to local communities to weatherize low-income homes. However, expansion of public funds is not enough: We must also dramatically improve coordination between the DOE and other agencies, including Housing and Urban Development, to ensure that varying energy efficiency initiatives are coordinated to achieve the highest possible adoption and saturation. Additionally, we must look to the private sector as a primary source for leveraging public investments.

Without question, policymakers are on the right track in prioritizing energy efficiency as a primary tool to create jobs, save energy costs, and reduce carbon emissions. We urge leaders of both parties to keep the momentum going and move quickly to ensure enactment of energy efficiency policy that will help us to build back better.

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Alliance to Save Energy

Striving since 1977 to build a stronger, more energy-efficient America. We like #energy, but we like to save it even more. #energyefficiency.