Infrastructure Bill 2021: What It Means for Building Efficiency

Infrastructure Bill 2021: What It Means for Building Efficiency

Nov 15, 2021 | Blog Posts, Insights

The infrastructure bill recently signed into law lays out considerable funds in a variety of areas. So, what does it mean for building-efficiency projects specifically?

Infrastructure Bill

$1 Trillion for Infrastructure

The $1 trillion infrastructure bill that’s now signed into law lays out funding in many areas. Consequently, this includes roads, bridges, ports, rail transit, safe water, the power grid, broadband internet and more.

According to TechCrunch, outside of already allocated funding, the full bipartisan bill contains $550 billion in new spending. As such, this breaks down into $110 billion for roads and bridges, $66 billion for railroads, $65 billion for the power grid, $65 billion for broadband, $55 billion for water infrastructure, $47 billion for cybersecurity and climate change, $39 billion for public transit, $25 billion for airports, $21 billion for the environment, $17 billion for ports and $11 billion for safety.

Infrastructure Bill

$5 Billion for Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Out of the $1 trillion total, about $5 billion goes to a wide range of programs geared to reduce electricity use in buildings, improve the materials used to build them and train more people to design, build and maintain energy-efficient buildings. Subsequently, here are the funding items most relevant to building efficiency in the infrastructure bill as outlined by Fast Company:

  • Weatherization Assistance Program: A preexisting program that will receive $3.5 billion for dwellings owned or occupied by people with low incomes. It provides funding to upgrade residences with better insulation, windows, roofing and heating and cooling devices.
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program: Another preexisting program that’s a funding tool used by local governments to issue grants for energy retrofits. The infrastructure bill dedicates $550 million to the program for the next fiscal year. The bill also sets aside $500 million for energy-efficiency and renewable-energy improvements at public schools. For example, that can include everything from replacing outdated HVAC systems to installing infrastructure to charge electric vehicles.
  • Building codes: A $225 million grant program will help local governments upgrade their building codes. As a result, the new grant program aims to help get codes updated to the most recent energy-efficiency standards.
  • Education: A $10 million program will provide funding to higher-education institutions to establish centers where students can learn how to assess and maintain energy efficiency in buildings.
  • Energy-efficient nonprofit buildings: A $50 million program will support the use of energy-efficient construction materials in buildings used by nonprofits. Hence, this will help improve the resiliency of low-income organizations while also spurring research into low-carbon building materials.
    Infrastructure Bill

    What Else for Building Efficiency?

    In addition, a couple other funding items support building efficiency as outlined by the AP:

    • The electric grid: To protect against the power outages that have become more frequent in recent years, the bill will spend $65 billion to improve the reliability and resiliency of the power grid. A more efficient grid will further support building electrification.
    • Water and wastewater: $55 billion would be spent on water and wastewater infrastructure. Thus, this will help projects that use wastewater for energy recovery.
    Infrastructure Bill

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    For more information on how the infrastructure bill impacts buildings in New York City specifically, contact us via the below form:

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