Clean-energy initiatives and policies to mitigate climate changes are expected to receive nearly $370 billion in funding with the anticipated passage of H.R.5376 Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, Aug. 12, following the Senate’s passage on Aug. 7. The bill is on its way to President Biden, who is expected to sign the bill into law this week.
The $370 billion investment includes $60 billion to create millions of new domestic jobs in clean manufacturing and $60 billion for addressing pollution in disadvantaged communities. Totaling $437 billion, the IRA also set asides $64 billion for extending the Affordable Care Act and $4 billion for drought mitigation in western states.
Several companies, associations, and organizations working to reduce the building industry’s environment impact and energy usage, in part through smart building technologies, have responded to the bill’s passage. Excerpts from several entities follow.
Siemens USA CEO Barbara Humpton welcomed the bill’s passage in her Aug. 12 statement: “We are encouraged to see this effort by Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration to accelerate the deployment of sustainable technologies and infrastructure. This is a decade of action requiring close collaboration across the public and private sectors. And the technology needed to achieve ambitious climate targets is here and ready to be put to use—from electric transportation to green buildings and microgrids.
Scaling the deployment of sustainable technologies enables us to prepare people for the jobs of tomorrow and build 21st infrastructure. Together, we will demonstrate that investments in decarbonization not only protect our environment, but bolster productivity and generate strong business results. Our collective action will shape the next century of American leadership and growth.”
View, a Milpitas, Calif.–based manufacturer of smart windows, applauded the legislation, stating in its Aug. 15 press release: “The legislation includes smart windows alongside solar, wind and storage in Section 48 ITC [investment tax credit] and is expected to accelerate market adoption of smart windows. Widespread deployment of smart windows will reduce energy consumption of buildings, make the power grid more resilient, improve energy security and create American, cleantech manufacturing jobs. Over the last decade we have witnessed the power of ITC in driving market adoption of other clean technologies, notably wind and solar.” The release also cites findings in the U.S. Department of Energy’s April 2022 report Pathway to Zero Energy Windows that “use of smart windows results in an annual heating and cooling energy reduction of 20% when compared to currently installed windows.”
Read how much the Inflation Reduction Act will allocate specifically to smart building and smart technology programs and related initiatives.
Silfab Solar, based in Mississauga, Ontario, noted its Aug. 12 press release: “Solar represents the most effective means to achieve clean energy goals in the United States,” said CEO Paolo Maccario. “At Silfab, we applaud the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, [Solar Energy Manufacturing in America Act] and the efforts by the Biden Administration to further invest in the solar industry. Silfab Solar will continue our U.S. manufacturing expansions, incorporating the most-advanced solar technologies and meeting the industry and customer demand for leading edge solar products designed and manufactured in the United States.”
Similarly, Washington, D.C.–based Solar Energy Industries Association, released an optimistic Aug. 12 statement from its president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper: “The Inflation Reduction Act will drive historic investments in clean energy deployment and manufacturing which will help create millions of new, well-paying careers. In the face of a global energy crisis and rising inflation, the measures in this bill will strengthen America’s energy security by boosting production here at home, all while lowering prices for families through investment in historic levels of low-cost, reliable clean energy.
“This is a momentous day for every American. … In anticipation of President Biden’s signature, the 255,000 Americans working in the solar and storage industry are ready to get to work.”
The American Institute of Architects (AIA), in Washington, celebrated the bill’s passage, calling out key provisions relevant to its membership of building and design professionals. These provisions include $330 million in grants for jurisdictions to adopt to the energy codes meeting or exceeding the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code and/or ASHRAE 90.1-2019 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings; and $8.575 billion in rebates to support energy-efficiency and electrification efforts by residential building owners. “AIA’s sustained commitment to advocating for legislation addressing greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment as well as resilient and affordable communities is evident throughout this bill,” said AIA executive vice president and CEO Lakisha Ann Woods in an Aug. 12 press release. “Though the climate crisis still requires our unrelenting attention, this legislation is a step in the right direction.”
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released an Aug. 12 statement from its executive director Steven Nadel, who noted that the bill will “enable more-efficient and electrified homes, with an unprecedented focus on helping low-income households make home improvements that cut utility bills and improve health and comfort. … Now it will be up to federal agencies, states, cities, and the private sector to make the bill’s vision a reality. Every single state will need to work expediently to set up rebate programs to enable residents to make major energy-saving home improvements. For states with older housing or limited efficiency programs, this bill represents a particularly timely opportunity to help residents live better while paying lower utility bills.”