Recovery Act accelerates use of energy efficient technologies in new and existing buildings

RELEASE DATE: 07-Jan-2010 

Improving Energy Efficiency

Recovery Act accelerates use of energy efficient technologies in new and existing commercial buildings.



WASHINGTON – Building on the action by the U.S. House of Representatives in passing historic legislation that will pave the way for  the transition to a clean energy economy, President Barack Obama and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced aggressive actions to promote energy efficiency and save American consumers billions of dollars per year.

The President and Secretary Chu also announced that $346 million from the Recovery Act will go towards accelerating the development and use of energy efficient technologies in new and existing commercial and residential buildings. Improving building efficiency will not only create jobs, but it will also be a crucial step in reducing carbon emissions:

And if we want to make our economy run more efficiently, we've also got to make our businesses run more efficiently.  And that's why we're also speeding up a $346 million investment under the Recovery Act to expand and accelerate the development, deployment, and use of energy-efficient technologies in residential and commercial buildings, which consume almost 40 percent of the energy we use and contribute to almost 40 percent of the carbon pollution we produce.

We're talking about technologies that are available right now or will soon be available -- from lighting to windows, heating to cooling, smart sensors and controls.  By adopting these technologies in our homes and businesses, we can make our buildings up to 80 percent more energy efficient -- or with additions like solar panels on the roof or geothermal power from underground, even transform them into zero-energy buildings that actually produce as much energy as they consume.

If you’d like to learn more about today’s announcement and how it will improve energy efficiency, you can read the White House fact sheet.

Building Efficiency Initiative

President Obama and Secretary Chu today announced a $346 million investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand and accelerate the development, deployment, and use of energy efficient technologies in all major types of commercial buildings as well as new and existing homes.

Residential and commercial buildings consume 40 percent of the energy and represent 40 percent of the carbon emissions in the United States.  Building efficiency represents one of the easiest, most immediate and most cost effective ways to reduce carbon emissions while creating new jobs.  With the application of new and existing technologies, buildings can be made up to 80 percent more efficient or even become "net zero" energy buildings with the incorporation of on-site renewable generation.

Today's buildings consume more energy than any other sector of the U.S. economy, including transportation and industry. In addition, almost three-quarters of our nation's 81 million buildings were built before 1979. Some were designed and constructed for limited service, and many will eventually require either significant retrofits or replacement.

Innovations in energy-efficient building envelopes, equipment, lighting, daylighting, and windows, in conjunction with advances in passive solar, photovoltaic, fuel cells, advanced sensors and controls and combined heating, cooling, and power, have the potential to dramatically transform today's buildings. These technologies—coupled with a whole building design approach that optimizes the interactions among building systems and components—will enable tomorrow's buildings to use considerably less energy, while also helping to reduce emissions and increase energy security.

This funding includes:

Advanced Building Systems Research
($100 million).  These projects will address research focused on the systems design, integration, and control of both new and existing buildings.   Buildings need to be designed, built, operated, and maintained as an integrated system in order to achieve the potential of energy efficient and eventually net zero-energy buildings.  These projects will move beyond component-only driven research and address the interactions in buildings as a whole, in order to progress development of integrated, high performance buildings and achieve net zero- energy buildings.

Residential Buildings Development and Deployment
($70 million).  Expanded work in Residential Buildings will increase homeowner energy savings by supporting energy efficient retrofits and new homes while raising consumer awareness of the benefits of increased health, safety, and durability of energy efficiency.  The projects will provide technical support to train workers and create jobs, developing a new workforce equipped to improve the Nation’s homes and will permit a major initiative to provide builders with technical assistance and training through states, utilities, and existing programs to increase the market share of new homes achieving substantial whole house energy savings.   To address existing homes, DOE will work with municipalities with a variety of housing types and vintages as well as subdivisions with similar housing stock to encourage a large number of energy efficiency retrofits.

Commercial Buildings Initiative
($53.5 million).  These Recovery Act funds will be used to accelerate and expand partnerships with major companies that design, build, own, manage, or operate large fleets of buildings and that commit to achieving exemplary energy performance.  This funding will be used to expand the number of these partnerships from 23 to about 75 through a competitive process beginning in September, 2009.

  • Efficiency Solutions
  • Performance Services
  • Sustainability Programs
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