Providers of building management systems and energy efficiency software have welcomed a new White House initiative to modernise buildings across America in a bid to reduce emissions and reach net zero by 2050.
The Biden administration is investing in new initiatives including an interactive efficient buildings “roadmap” that includes recommendations to integrate buildings with solar and wind power through demand management and storage. The agency estimates such buildings could create savings up to $200 billion through 2040.
The government will invest $30 million into workforce initiatives designed to train people to construct and maintain high-performance buildings that utilize renewables, efficient lighting and energy demand management, among other clean energy technologies.
New building performance standards were also announced by the White House along with the Better Buildings Progress Report.
According to the report the federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the US and its more than 360,000 buildings represent almost 60 per cent of its energy use.
Much of the Biden administration's focus on decarbonization has so far revolved around electrifying the transportation sector, but last month officials said buildings would ultimately be key to addressing the impacts of climate change.
“It will be impossible to halve US greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 without rapid decarbonization of the building sector," according to Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) president Paula Glover.
“This is exactly the kind of action needed," she said.
The Department of Energy (DOE) said it is planning to create new partnerships to “kickstart demand for high-performance buildings.”
Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm said the initiatives will help unlock new innovation for cleaner buildings.
She said the plan is to work with the private sector, unions, building and home owners, and manufacturers to "electrify and modernize" both new and existing buildings.
DOE is working with the housing department on a low-carbon pilot which includes increasing market adoption of grid-connected heat pump water heaters in residential and commercial buildings.
The department’s goals include tripling the energy efficiency and demand flexibility of the buildings sector by 2030, relative to 2020 levels.