Without policy intervention, U.S. building emissions are expected to remain relatively constant through 2050, an incompatible trajectory for limiting warming to a 1.5°C target. Fortunately, transitioning from fossil fuels to clean electricity can help meet a net-zero target while providing U.S. residents with clean air and lower energy bills in their living and working spaces.
Buildings are one of the United States’ largest sources of greenhouse gases, directly contributing 13 percent of the country’s total carbon pollution. But current plans to cut these emissions consist of a patchwork of state, utility, and local initiatives. The Inflation Reduction Act seeks to overcome that with $8.8 billion in new programs and incentives through the Home Efficiency Rebates and Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates programs. New Energy Innovation research provides a blueprint for state energy offices to maximize these funds’ effectiveness.
The U.S. Energy Policy Simulator identifies policies capable of closing the emissions gap between what the Inflation Reduction Act could achieve and the U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution of 50 to 52 percent emissions reductions below 2005 levels by 2030. The modeling finds additional federal and state actions can close the gap, while creating 2.7 million jobs, adding $700 billion to the economy, and avoiding $1.7 trillion in climate damages between 2023 and 2030.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) building sector provisions will save consumers money, improve public health, create good-paying U.S. jobs, and cut building sector emissions. This report explains how federal regulatory agencies can effectively implement the IRA’s building provisions, recommends complementary federal policies to accelerate building decarbonization. It also outlines how state policymakers can leverage the new law to reduce building sector pollution, increase building efficiency, and lower energy bills.
Building electrification and energy efficiency investments in the Build Back Better Act will decarbonize the building sector, improve public health, and reduce consumer bills.
EI’s Amanda Myers explains why building codes are a powerful tool for reducing building sector emissions, while helping drive economy-wide decarbonization, and highlights California’s upcoming opportunity to adopt an all-electric building code.