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Biden administration opens applications for billions in grants to save Americans money — here’s how it could affect you

Eligible states, territories, and local governments with authority over building codes can present concept papers by February 9.

Eligible states, territories, and local governments with authority over building codes can present concept papers by February 9.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The United States Department of Energy has revealed the Biden administration will provide up to $530 million in grants for energy-efficient buildings.

It’s supported by the Inflation Reduction Act, a $1 billion fund that, in part, aims to modernize America’s buildings to reduce energy costs and rely less on planet-warming dirty energy sources.

According to the Department of Energy, homes built today, compared to those constructed 15 years ago, are around 40% more energy efficient, and the funding boost is aiming to allow states and local governments to update “to the latest model and zero energy codes” or equivalent plans.

If this practice is adopted by all 50 states, the energy savings over three decades would be enough to power all homes in the United States for a year, per the DOE release.

“Shaping a clean-energy future for cities and neighborhoods requires a whole system approach that includes modernizing the building stock to use less energy and be more resilient in the face of increasing natural disasters,” Jennifer Granholm, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, said in the statement.

Granholm added that the funding will help “save consumers money, reduce climate pollution, and build a place-based workforce of well-paid, in-demand jobs for local community members.”

The point about making homes more equipped to deal with the impact of natural disasters is an interesting addition to the funding program. 

Rising global temperatures — which are exacerbated by human-caused pollution, including from the energy sector — are increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires, so presenting mitigation options for U.S. residents will provide some much-needed peace of mind. 

Eligible states, territories, and local governments with authority over building codes can present concept papers by Feb. 9, which are necessary to submit full applications due by April 30. 

In 2022, energy prices saw a 10.7% rise from the previous year, according to the Statista Research Department, which noted that prices have increased every year following a small drop in 2018. 

While energy efficiency is vital for residents to drive down the cost of power, reducing the need for energy will help to reduce pollution from energy-related dirty fuels. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, household energy outputs are the largest controllable source of black carbon, a planet-warming pollutant that is produced by coal-fired power plants.

The amount of black carbon pollution from domestic power accounts for over half of this type of pollution globally. 

Meanwhile, black carbon also significantly reduces air quality because it’s a big part of the toxic particulate matter in the air, so reducing energy consumption can bring a range of benefits.

While making homes more equipped to be comfortable on less energy is essential to the reduction of black carbon pollution and other carbon pollution, renewable energy from wind or solar power is also vital to move away from power sources that produce harmful gases and pollutants. 

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