Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday announced a series of new building energy code determinations that the Energy Department says will save $138 billion over three decades.

The department projected the new code determinations will save up to 4.7 percent on-site energy, 4.3 percent source energy, 4.2 percent carbon emissions and 4.3 percent in energy costs. The department projects the determinations would generate savings of $138 billion over the next 30 years for homes and businesses, or about $162 per residential unit a year.

The projected savings by building type include 4.7 percent for commercial buildings and 9.4 percent for residential buildings compared to earlier model energy codes. The updated codes would avert 900 million metric tons in carbon emissions, or the annual output of nearly 200 million cars, according to the department.

In an energy savings analysis accompanying the determinations, the department outlined the specific proposed changes, which include more high-efficiency lighting, increased wall and ceiling insulation and improved efficacy for mechanical ventilation fans.

“Based on these results, the 2021 IECC is expected to improve energy efficiency in residential buildings by almost 10 percent,” the analysis states.

“More efficient building codes are key ways to eliminate wasted energy, lower Americans’ energy bills, and reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change,” Granholm said in a statement. “These efforts to help states and localities adopt new, more efficient codes – along with President Biden’s plans to produce, preserve, and retrofit millions of homes – will provide Americans safer, healthier, and more comfortable places to live, work, and play.”

The latest determinations come as the Biden administration has pledged to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by half by the end of the decade. Under current energy building codes, heating, cooling, light and power for residential and commercial buildings comprise 35 percent of U.S. carbon emissions, 75 percent of electricity use and 40 percent of energy use overall, according to the department. The collective financial cost is over $400 billion.

Tags building codes energy efficiency Energy policy Jennifer Granholm Joe Biden

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