Research & Publications

Building a Sustainable Residential Infrastructure

August 11, 2022

Prepared for Building Performance Association by Kara Saul Rinaldi, Sabine Rogers, and Jake Spolan

Opportunities, challenges, and policy strategies to drive residential energy efficiency and decarbonization through advanced technologies and approaches.

Setting the Stage

The development of this report has coincided with historic new federal action on infrastructure with the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, formally known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which will send billions of dollars in new funding to state energy offices and organizations to advance clean energy technology deployment, financing, and program implementation. This historic opportunity to ramp up existing energy efficiency and home performance programs to fundamentally change the way that energy is used in homes across America emerges before a background of energy security concerns, a growing urgency to address the climate crisis through rapid decarbonization, as well as persistent housing inequalities and disparate energy burdens hurting underinvested and marginalized communities. New funding also presents a significant challenge for states who will need to quickly build necessary capacity, streamline different funding sources and design effective programs in order to deliver on the opportunity. As policymakers and regulators look ahead at their own state energy planning and how to prioritize and leverage investments with federal infrastructure funding, this report offers insights, best practices, and guidance on ways to support and scale innovation in home performance to advance climate goals and environmental justice while supporting state policy priorities. The report—built on extensive research, industry needs assessment, and interviews with stakeholders and experts prior to the law’s passage—is intended to serve as a resource for any state or other entity looking for opportunities and approaches to scale residential energy efficiency efforts and programs.

***At the time of publication of this report, Congress is voting on the Inflation Reduction Act as 2022 budget reconciliation. HOPE for HOMES, key federal legislation highlighted in this report, is included in the package at a $4.5 billion funding level, alongside an additional $4.5 billion for a High Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program. If enacted, both new programs could dramatically advance opportunities to implement the innovative technologies and approaches outlined in this report. More information on the opportunities with this historic funding and how it can be combined with IIJA and other state and utility funding sources will be detailed by the authors in a future report anticipated for release before the end of the year.

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