Buildings as Infrastructure:
Analyzing the Inflation Reduction Act

In July 2022, Senate Democrats unveiled their Inflation Reduction Act reconciliation bill, the product of months of negotiations between member of Congress and the White House.

 

The bill includes $369 billion in funding for clean energy and climate initiatives, provisions its backers say would reduce emissions by 40 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2030.

Although the shape of the package could change in the coming days, here is an early look from BuildingAction about what the plan includes for buildings.

 
Categories
Click on the icons to learn what the plan has to say about the main issues in sustainable building. 
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Efficiency

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Federal

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Equity

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Water

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Building Codes

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Electrification

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Workforce

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Health

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Efficiency

  • $1 billion grant program to make affordable housing more energy efficient.

  • Extends for 10 years tax credits to make homes energy efficient and run on clean energy, making heat pumps, rooftop solar, electric HVAC and water heaters more affordable, including the nonbusiness energy property credit, the residential energy efficient property credit, the new energy efficient home credit

  • $9 billion for states to issue rebates to homeowners for whole-home retrofits and for efficient heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and other electrical equipment. Most funding would be for low- and moderate-income households.

  • Restores and increases tax credits for heat pumps and smaller home improvements such as insulation (25C credit), strengthens the criteria for and the amount of the tax deduction for commercial building retrofits (179D), and includes extra incentives for “zero-energy-ready” homes and buildings.

 

Building Codes

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  • $1 billion to help states and localities adopt and implement strong building energy codes; one-third for jurisdictions adopting the latest model codes and two-thirds for those adopting codes to require zero-net-energy buildings. 

 
 

Federal 

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  • Over $9 billion for Federal procurement of American-made clean technologies to create a stable market for clean products, including $3 billion for the U.S. Postal Service to purchase zero-emission vehicles.

  • $100 million for EPA to develop a program for construction materials used in transportation projects and construction materials used for federal buildings, to identify and label low-embodied carbon construction materials and products.

  • 2.15 billion to be deposited in the Federal Buildings Fund to acquire and install low-embodied carbon materials and products for use in the construction or alteration of buildings.

Electrification

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  • $30 billion in targeted grant and loan programs for states and electric utilities to accelerate the transition to clean electricity.

  • $500 million to deploy the Defense Production Act to help build out domestic manufacturing of heat pumps.

  • $10 billion investment tax credit to build clean technology manufacturing facilities, like facilities that make electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels

  • Production tax credits to accelerate U.S. manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and critical minerals processing, estimated to invest $30 billion.

  • Expands the section 48 ITC to include solar and wind facilities located in low-income or Native American communities, including energy-storage technology property, provided the facility receives an allocation of environmental justice solar and wind capacity.

  • Undoes a 10-year moratorium on offshore wind leasing established by former President Donald Trump for North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and orders Interior to begin offshore wind planning for the U.S. territories by 2025, including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

 

Equity

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  • $60 billion overall for environmental justice

  • $8 billion from the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund devoted to projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

  • $3 billion for Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants to support neighborhood equity, safety, and affordable transportation access with competitive grants to reconnect communities divided by existing infrastructure barriers, mitigate negative impacts of transportation facilities or construction projects on disadvantaged or underserved communities, and support equitable transportation planning and community engagement activities.

  • $3 billion for Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants, for community-led projects in disadvantaged communities and community capacity building centers to address disproportionate environmental and public health harms related to pollution and climate change.

 

Workforce

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  • $9 billion homeowner rebate proram for whole-home retrofits includes funding for training and education for contractors.

 

Healthy Buildings

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  • $250 million for EPA to develop and carry out a program to support the development, and enhanced standardization and transparency, of environmental product declarations for construction materials and products.

 

Water

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  • $550 million in grants, contracts or financial assistance for domestic water supplies in communities or households that don’t have reliable access to domestic water supplies

 

Innovation & Research

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  • $2 billion for National Labs to accelerate breakthrough energy research.

  • $27 billion for Greenhouse Gas Reduction fund, a clean energy technology accelerator, or "green bank," to support deployment of technologies to reduce emissions, especially in disadvantaged communities.