Building Performance Industry Resource Guide on Opportunities Presented by Economic Recovery Funds
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will provide $787 billion in economic investments nationally. The goals of this plan are to jump start the U.S. economy and create jobs for Americans in a transparent and accountable manner. President Obama has placed a priority on energy efficiency for the use of the recovery funds. Tens of billions of dollars will be transferred from the federal government to the states and municipalities in recovery funds to support energy efficiency. The major components of the funding are:
[li]$3.1 billion in energy efficiency block grants to states under the State Energy Program (SEP) upon assurances for regulatory reform and more effective building energy codes. The recovery act directs the states to focus SEP funding on energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Specifically, the Act calls for expanding existing programs approved by the state or appropriate regulatory authority. Monies will be directed to energy efficiency retrofits of buildings and industrial facilities, and to support renewable energy projects. The Act also encourages using the funding for cooperative and joint activities between states to support these activities.[/li][li]$3.2 billion in an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program to local governments. The funds are to assist cities and counties in implementing projects and programs to reduce total energy use, reduce fossil fuel emissions, and improve energy efficiency in building and other appropriate sectors. A majority of these funds from this program go directly to local governments and a smaller amount goes to each state’s energy office and tribal governments. The national funding breakdown for the $3.2 billion is:[/li][LIST]
[li]68% to local governments[/li][li]28% to states[/li][li]2% to tribes[/li][li]2% competitive grants[/li][/ul]
[li]$5 billion to the Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program[/li][li]$8.1 billion to improve the energy performance of federal buildings[/li][li]$500 million for research, labor exchange and job training projects to prepare workers for careers in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries[/li][li]The extension and increase in the existing homes federal tax credit.[/li][/LIST]
The recovery funding that is being allocated to state and local governments provides a unique opportunity for improving the energy performance of buildings. Congress has given state and local governments a great amount of discretion in spending the $6.2 billion in energy efficiency appropriations. Members of the building energy performance industry need to reach out to state and municipal energy offices and explain how improving the energy performance of buildings will create jobs and boost local economic development.
To assist members of the building performance industry in presenting the opportunities that allocating recovery funds to improving building performance, RESNET has prepared a fact sheet. The fact sheet outlines the opportunities presented and the case for improving building energy performance. To download the fact sheet click on [The Opportunity that the Economic Stimulus Funding has to Improving the Energy Efficiency of Buildings](http://www.resnet.us/hotnews/guide/Opportunity_the_Economic_Stimulus_Funding.pdf). RESNET has also developed a proposed model of how the funds could be deployed with a minimum of bureaucracy and using existing infrastructure. The model, "Home Energy Efficiency Coupon Program" would provide for a set of coupons for consumers that would cover half of the costs for the inspection and the amount of energy saved. To download the proposed program click on [Home Energy Efficiency Coupons](http://www.resnet.us/hotnews/guide/Home_Energy_Efficiency_Coupons.pdf). **Economic Recovery Resources**
[li]Directory of State Energy Offices[/li][li]U.S. Department of Energy Web Site on Recovery Act[/li][li] U.S. Office of Management and Budget Guidelines on Recovery Funds Transparency and Accountability[/li][li] U.S. Department of Energy Guidelines for Use of Recovery Funds for the State Energy Program[/li][li] United States Conference of Mayors Fact Sheet on Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program[/li][/ul]