IRA Funded Technical Assistance for Building Energy Codes - $1 Billion in funding to make U.S. building stock cleaner and more efficient

Grants to States or units of local governments with code making authority to adopt updated building energy codes, zero energy codes, or equivalent codes or standards.

An Opportunity for More-Efficient Buildings for All

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides $1 billion for states and local governments with the authority to adopt traditional building energy codes and innovative building energy codes, such as building performance standards, to lead the way in decarbonizing the new and existing residential and commercial buildings. Codes are typically used to "raise the floor," but this opportunity lets jurisdictions take innovative approaches to efficiency and emissions reductions for their new and renovated buildings through the adoption of the latest model energy codes, zero energy codes, or other standards with equivalent energy savings, like a building performance standard.

Codes and innovative approaches such as building performance standards supported under this opportunity are cross-cutting and will create more inclusive programs that align with the Administration's Justice40 priorities and will build capacity at the state and local level, including encouraging strong community and Tribal engagement. The potential impact from these innovations in building energy codes presents a nearly unprecedented opportunity to benefit all Americans through utility bill savings, more resilient and efficient buildings, support for the workforce, and reduce our contributions to the changing climate.

Overview

Office:

State and Community Energy Programs

New Program:

Yes

Funding Amount:

$1,000,000,000

Funding Mechanism:

Grants

Recipients:

States and local governments with authority to adopt building energy codes. DOE may reserve up to 5% of necessary administrative costs.

Period of Availability:

To remain available through 9/30/2029

Assistance Listing:

Formula funding for States and Territories
Competitive funding for States, Territories and certain localities

 

Formula Funding:

Yes – a portion of the funding is being distributed as formula to states and territories. A portion of the funding will also be distributed through a competitive funding opportunity.

Tribal Eligibility:

Partnerships with Tribes are encouraged since Tribes are not eligible to be direct grant recipients.

Cost Share Requirement:

No

About the IRA Building Codes Technical Assistance

The IRA made funding available to states and units of local governments with authority to adopt building codes and standards for two categories:

  • $330 million to adopt the latest building energy codes, which are 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential buildings and the ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1–2019 for commercial buildings or other codes and standards that achieve equivalent or greater energy savings; and
     
  • $670 million to adopt building energy codes that meet or exceed the zero energy provisions in the 2021 IECC or other codes and standards with equivalent or greater energy savings.

These grants will support states and local jurisdictions in adopting, implementing, and enforcing the latest model, zero energy codes, or equivalent codes and standards, improving residential and commercial new construction and retrofits, and transitioning the building stock to more efficient, decarbonized buildings for all. SCEP has released this funding through two announcements – first an opt-in formula funding opportunity for States and Territories, and a second competitive funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for all eligible grantees under Section 50131. These opportunities are further detailed in the sections below.

Recipients must develop an implementation plan that provides approaches to achieve full compliance with the newly adopted code or standard, plans for capacity building to support ongoing implementation, and active workforce training and enforcement programs.

Subscribe to the SCEP Newsletter to receive program updates, which may include frequently asked questions, announcement of webinars, reminders about impending deadlines, and other program announcements. Reach out to IRACodes@hq.doe.gov with any questions or Technical Assistance needs.

Formula Funding for States and Territories

In September 2023, DOE released program guidance and opened applications for $400 million in formula funding to improve traditional building energy codes that reduce utility bills, increase the efficiency and resilience of buildings, and reduce carbon emissions. The funding is available through a formula allocation to states and territories to adopt, implement, enforce, and measure compliance for the latest building energy codes and zero energy codes in the following categories: 

  • $240 million to adopt and implement the latest building energy code, the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential buildings and the ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1–2019 for commercial buildings, or other codes that achieve equivalent or greater energy savings.
     
  • $160 million to adopt and implement the zero energy provisions in the 2021 IECC, or other codes with equivalent or greater energy savings.

Additional information on eligible recipients, qualifying activities, and program guidance is available in the Assistance for Latest and Zero Building Energy Code Adoption (Sec. 50131) Administrative and Legal Requirements Document (ALRD). Eligible states and territories must have submitted a letter of intent (LOI) by January 31, 2024 to reserve their funding, with full applications due by September 30, 2025. Eligible states and territories that have submitted an LOI can now submit full applications, and can email IRACodes@hq.doe.gov for technical assistance.

For States initiating adoption of a qualifying code, each application will consist of: 

  • A completed SF424 (available as a fillable form through PAGE)
  • An Adoption Plan (this template includes prompts for providing all information to fulfill the requirements of the Adoption Plan portion of the application) 
    • Additional detail on the submission to DOE to reserve funds to initiate the award and/or advance between project phases are outlined in Table 2 in Part III, Section D (ii) of the ALRD
  • A Community Benefits Plan (additional detail on requirements included in Part III, Section C (iv) of the ALRD)
  • SF424A budget (available as a fillable form through PAGE) and corresponding budget justification detailing how the requested funds will be spent

For States that have adopted a qualifying code and are undertaking compliance and enforcement activities, each application will consist of: 

  • A completed SF424 (available as a fillable form through PAGE)
  • Certification of the already adopted building energy code demonstrating equivalence to the latest model building energy code or zero energy building code, per DOE analysis 
  • An Implementation Plan (this template includes prompts for providing all information to fulfill the requirements of the Implementation Plan portion of the application) 
    • Additional detail on the submission to DOE to reserve funds to initiate the award and/or advance between project phases are outlined in Table 2 in Part III, Section D (ii) of the ALRD
  • A Community Benefits Plan (additional detail on requirements included in Part III, Section C (iv) of the ALRD)
  • SF424A budget (available as a fillable form through PAGE) and corresponding budget justification detailing how the requested funds will be spent

A Compliance and Enforcement Plan is a milestone for all projects, but is not required as part of an application. 

If all States updated to the latest model codes, together they would save at least 12 quads of site energy over 30 years – an amount equivalent to the energy used by all the households in the United States in a year – along with almost two billion metric tons CO2 in climate benefits over the same 30 years. This would save these states' consumers up to $178 billion on their utility bills.

We want to hear from you! The team at DOE can provide individualized technical assistance as you work through your codes program design. Reach out to schedule a one-on-one to discuss your program, questions, assistance needs, or your jurisdiction's circumstances at IRACodes@hq.doe.gov. You can find the estimated impacts of adopting and implementing the latest model codes and zero energy codes in your state or territory below:

Funding Opportunity Announcement for States, Territories and Certain Localities

In December 2023, DOE released a competitive Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) making up to $530 million available for the adoption and implementation of the latest model codes, zero energy codes, as well as customized codes and innovative codes that achieve equivalent energy savings to the latest model and zero energy codes.

This competitive funding opportunity is open to States, Territories and units of local government that have the authority to adopt building codes, and follows the formula funding announcement for States and Territories. This new competitive funding opportunity building on the formula opportunity to expand the pool of eligible grantees to include certain localities and expand qualifying activities to include customized codes and innovative code approaches such as building performance standards.

Concept Papers (not to exceed two pages) are required in order to submit a full application. The first round of concept papers were due on February 9, 2024. Full Applications for the first round are due on April 30, 2024. All relevant application materials, including the FOA, equivalence methodology and calculators, and an optional template for concept papers are available on Infrastructure Exchange.

More Information

The RFI and NOI are posted on the Clean Energy Infrastructure Funding Opportunity eXCHANGE

Responses to this RFI are now closed. A public informational webinar was held on April 18, 2023. A recording of the webinar and the presentation can be found using these links:

Please feel encouraged to reach out with any questions or comments regarding these provisions and program roll out. Contact us directly at IRACodes@hq.doe.gov.

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