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Biden Admin Spells Out All The Ways It Wants To ‘Decarbonize’ American Buildings In Latest Climate Plan

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The Biden administration released a report detailing all the different ways it plans to “decarbonize” buildings in the U.S., envisioning sweeping changes to appliances, the power grid and more to reach its goals.

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) report lays out the Biden administration’s roadmap for cutting emissions from buildings by 75% by 2050 relative to 2005 levels to fight climate change. The report calls for a coordinated federal effort to massively change how Americans interact with the buildings in which they live and work by pushing electric appliances, “smart control systems” that moderate energy demand and furthering the Biden administration’s electric vehicle (EV) agenda.

“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,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said of the report, adding that it is the first of its kind.

DOE Report – Decarbonizing Buildings by Nick Pope on Scribd

The report envisions a future in which energy demand can be moderated or otherwise altered by so-called “smart control systems,” which are “communication technologies enabling different objects, sensors and functions within a building to communicate and interact with each other, allowing it to be managed, controlled and automated in a remote way” that save energy, according to Urban Renewables.

The DOE’s report also describes “grid-responsive” smart thermostats, water heaters and other appliances as “key measures” that will enable adjustments in energy demand to align it with times when green generation from intermittent sources like wind and solar is high. It also calls for the deployment of on site zero-emissions power generation equipment — likely solar panels — and “bi-directional EV charging infrastructure” that would allow EVs to feed power back into buildings.

The DOE maintains that these technologies will lower energy costs, especially when taken in tandem with a revised utility billing structure in which rates vary by the time of day and compensation programs for customers who participate.

The DOE’s plan also touts “virtual power plants” (VPPs) as a key emerging technology that will play an important role in achieving the vision presented by the DOE over the coming decades. VPPs are networks of smaller energy storage or production devices, like solar panels and batteries, that are combined together to support an energy grid, whether being accessed to meet high demand or saved for later use during periods of lower demand, according to Reuters.

Effectively, VPPs would allow utilities to tamper with electricity demand via electric vehicles and appliances, for example.

All of these modifications and initiatives will lead to “outcomes such as energy justice and security, improved health, good jobs and American prosperity” by prompting a “fundamental shift in how [Americans] site, design, construct, operate, and retrofit [their] buildings to align with decarbonization goals,” the report claims.

The Biden administration is setting its sights on these major changes while simultaneously moving to reshape the American power grid by 2040 using regulations crafted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Those rules could pose significant problems for grid reliability and resource adequacy in the coming decades given that the rules are likely to force retirement of natural gas- and coal-fired power plants, as grid experts have previously explained to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The plan for building electrification will save Americans $100 billion in energy costs each year and $17 billion in annual “health costs” if it is realized, according to the DOE.

However, the report does acknowledge that about 20% of Americans live in a home that was behind on energy bills on at least one occasion in 2023, and that about 60% of Americans live on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis.

Additionally, the report stipulates that at least 40% of the benefits of the spending related to the green buildings push flow to “disadvantaged communities” in line with the Biden administration’s “Justice40” initiative. That program specifically requires 40% of the benefits of certain environmental spending flows to “disadvantaged communities.”

The Biden administration is spending big to help state and municipal governments craft building codes that encourage green buildings, a vision which it expands upon in the report. Likewise, the DOE has promulgated a wide array of regulations and updates to efficiency standards for a wide range of appliances, generally disfavoring models that are cheaper but less energy efficient over time.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

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