More Energy-Efficient Incentives Are On the WayMay 24th, 2023 by Travis Rains
Bloomberg recently cited data from the National Energy Assistance Directors Association in reporting that 20 million U.S. households are behind on their energy bills. While those struggling to cover bills may not be in a position to afford costly energy upgrades, new efforts are now in place that could help to alleviate that burden.
The Biden-Harris administration has announced new actions and investments from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that could drive demand for energy-efficient products, including doors and windows. It’s all part of an effort to incorporate climate mitigation into federally-supported housing and more.
On May 11, HUD announced an $830 million funding notice for the Inflation Reduction Act’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program. At the same time, HUD announced $4 billion in loan commitment authority for the program. The measure also includes $42.5 million for a new HUD initiative set to launch in the summer of 2023 that will collect and assess water and energy usage from government-assisted multi-family properties. At the same time, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is set to utilize funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to update facilities around the U.S. Through energy savings performance contracts, GSA will bring energy and cost-saving improvements to 41 facilities, including 17 in the Washington, D.C. area and 24 across Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
HUD, the Federal Housing Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture continue to push for the adoption of the latest energy codes for construction. HUD estimates that the adoption of the latest codes would save families more than 35% on energy costs. That’s in addition to savings that could be realized through home energy tax credits rolled out with the Inflation Reduction Act.
Additionally, HUD will prioritize using materials with lower embodied carbon for retrofits and new construction.
“These efforts will help scale up demand for American-made building materials that have less climate impact associated with mining, manufacturing, and transportation,” the Administration writes.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), such improvements are of interest to more than just government officials. In a recent NAR survey, 48% of agents and brokers say consumers are interested in energy sustainability. And 63% say they’ve found value in promoting those features within listings.
“While each area of the country has a unique climate and community resources, Realtors are finding the need to embrace their clients’ sustainability interests,” said Jessica Lautz, NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research. “Buyers often seek homes that either lessen their environmental footprint or reduce their monthly energy costs. There is value in promoting green features and energy information to future home buyers.”
So, what are the green features prospective buyers are most interested in? According to the NAR, doors, windows and siding top the list at 39%.
The new HUD initiatives also include the expansion of the Green Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) program, which has supported the construction of nearly 14,000 homes. That program will now expand to residential care facilities, which the Biden-Harris administration says will provide more funding for new and renovated assisted living and memory care facilities.
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[…] Bloomberg recently cited data from the National Energy Assistance Directors Association in reporting that 20 million U.S. households are behind on their energy bills. […]