The Solutions for Low-Carbon States and Communities project delivers innovative efficiency and decarbonization solutions for new and existing buildings. NEEP works to support states, counties, and municipalities in designing policies and programs that meet their needs and advance building decarbonization across the region. NEEP’s communities work is tailored to municipal government staff, volunteers working with their local government, and others that support state and local action. NEEP’s objectives include:
- Engage and collaborate with stakeholders to share resources and best practices
- Directly engage with states and municipalities to adopt innovative strategies that reduce carbon emissions from buildings
- Develop tools and reports that offer thought leadership to stakeholders to more rapidly transform the market
On these pages users will find information about tools such as the Home Energy Labeling Information eXchange (HELIX), Energy Estimator, Building Energy Analysis Manager (BEAM). The team’s main areas of work are residential energy labeling, commercial benchmarking and building performance standards (BPS), whole-home approaches, and high performance school buildings.
Federal Funding Opportunities from BIL and IRA
Community-level action for building energy efficiency and emissions reductions is critical for achieving local and state goals, and many communities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are leading the way. With new funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), communities will be able to take great strides towards the achievement of their climate goals. Local governments are eligible to apply for and receive a large portion of the available money.
Understanding and preparing for both formula and competitive grants can be a huge undertaking. To assist, NEEP has created resources and a new Community Federal Funding Working Group to support municipalities in the region.
Many cities and towns in the Northeast are eligible for formula grant allocations, meaning they don’t have to compete to receive funding. Rather, they are allocated a certain amount and must simply apply to receive the money. One example is the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program allocates formula funds to nearly 400 city and county governments in the NEEP region, with an average of about $157,000 per government. EECBG will also have competitive grants available in the future for those that are not eligible for formula grants
Another formula-funded program is EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program, allocating climate action planning funds to the top 67 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) in the country, 13 of which are in the Northeast. Each MSA will receive $1 million for planning purposes, and $4.6 billion in competitive implementation grants will be available for the second phase.
Other grants focus on improving the energy efficiency of public school buildings or rural and remote areas, building up the clean energy workforce, strengthening building energy codes, and more. NEEP’s resources include information on both grants that municipalities can apply for directly and money that will flow through state energy offices.
The NEEP Federal Policy Resources page has briefs, one-pagers, and links to additional resources about BIL and IRA funding for communities, schools, rural areas, and more. These describe not only information about the grants, but also suggestions for priority actions.
The March Ready, Set, Scale webinar called “Show Me the Money: Community Opportunities” detailed first steps for governments to apply for federal funding, summarized what the state of Maine is doing to support communities, and provided an overview from the EPA on the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program. The recording and slides are available at the link above.