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U.S. releases national buildings decarbonization plan

Strategy outlines pathways to reduce emissions by 90% in the buildings sector by 2050.

May 14, 2024  By  Doug Picklyk



As Canadians wait for the forthcoming Canada Green Buildings Strategy to be delivered by the federal government, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has just released Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy by 2050: A National Blueprint for the Buildings Sector, a federal plan to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions from buildings by 65% by 2035 and 90% by 2050.

The Blueprint is the first sector-wide strategy for building decarbonization developed by the U.S. federal government.

“America’s building sector accounts for more than a third of the harmful emissions jeopardizing our air and health,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm in a release. “As part of a whole-of-government approach, DOE is outlining for the first time ever a comprehensive federal plan to reduce energy in our homes, schools, and workplaces—lowering utility bills and creating healthier communities while combating the climate crisis.”

The Blueprint sets four strategic objectives:

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  • Increasing building energy efficiency
  • Accelerating onsite emissions reductions
  • Transforming the interactions between buildings and the electricity grid
  • Minimizing the emissions from producing, transporting, installing, and disposing of building materials

Each objective has performance targets and market, policy, and technology milestones to reach by 2035 and 2050.

As part of its call to action, the report looks at steps the federal government must look at to move forward, including: reduce the cost of heat pumps, improve public awareness of low-carbon solutions and their benefits, provide technical assistance and workforce training, and lead by example with federal facility decarbonization.

Those actions include funding research and development to develop lower-cost technologies, expanding markets for low-carbon technologies, providing direct funding and financing, and supporting the development and implementation of emissions-reducing building codes and appliance standards.

In addition, DOE is focused on innovation in three areas: building upgrades, efficient electrification, and smart controls.

The full report can be downloaded here: energy.gov


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