Expanded Scope Provides Greater Opportunities for Sustainable Innovation in Federal Buildings

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of the Biden-Harris Administration's Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) opened its second phase of Assisting Federal Facilities with Energy Conservation Technologies (AFFECT) grant funding to help federal agencies implement net-zero building projects and set an example in sustainability as the nation works to transition to clean energy and combat climate change. This funding opportunity furthers the goals outlined in President Biden's Federal Sustainability Plan, which aims to reach net-zero emissions from overall federal operations by 2050, including a 65% emissions reduction by 2030.

Bolstered by $250 million from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and managed by DOE's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), the AFFECT BIL grant funding will be disbursed over three phases. Submit project applications by June 27, 2024, to be considered for phase 2.

During phase 1, FEMP selected 31 net-zero projects across federal facilities, totaling a $104 million investment. These projects range from net-zero designs to retrofits incorporating technologies like geothermal, battery storage, and heat pumps. Collectively, these projects are expected to save more than $29 million in energy and water costs in their first year of operation and will double the amount of new carbon-free electricity capacity at federal facilities over the amount brought online in 2022, resulting in 27 megawatts of additional clean-energy capacity.

Essential Updates for Applicants

Feedback and insights gathered throughout phase 1 refined the application process and enhanced program impact for phase 2. Here's what applicants need to know:

  • Deadline Extended: The deadline for phase 2 applications is now June 27, 2024, allowing agencies ample time for thorough project planning and submission.
     
  • Scope Expanded: Phase 2 introduces an expansion of Topic Area 1, broadening the scope of initiatives eligible for funding and offering greater opportunities for agencies to engage in net-zero project and program development to achieve mission goals. This expansion reflects a commitment to replicability, department-wide scalability, and innovation, creating space for a wider range of initiatives.
     
  • Criteria Clarified: Criteria for all topic areas have been updated to enhance scoring clarity and transparency and include benchmark examples. Application forms have been adjusted for consistency.

Learning Opportunities

To help applicants navigate these updates and prepare successful proposals, FEMP will host the following trainings:

AFFECT BIL Data Collection: eProject Builder: Applicants will use the latest version of DOE's data collection tool called eProject Builder, or ePB, to submit proposed greenhouse gas reduction totals and cost savings and illustrate the project is cost effective. This training will be held on April 18, 2024.

AFFECT BIL 101: The team from FEMP will provide an overview of the Assisting Federal Facilities with Energy Conservation Technologies (AFFECT) program. Date to be announced.

AFFECT BIL Phase 1 Lessons Learned: Looking for ways to strengthen your AFFECT proposal? Agencies are encouraged to attend this webinar with a focus on phase 1 success stories and the basics of the grant to help develop a strong application. Date to be announced.

Visit the Clean Energy Infrastructure eXCHANGE for more information and to apply.