State, territory and local governments seeking help in adopting the latest building codes for energy efficiency may be able to benefit from a new round of U.S. Dept. of Energy technical assistance grants totaling about $530 million, to be awarded via competitive process.

The Latest and Zero Building Energy Codes grants are aimed at reducing energy use, lowering utility bills and making buildings more resilient to extreme weather events, DOE said Dec. 18.  

The funding is available to help governments adopt and implement building energy codes in four categories: latest model energy codes, such as ASHRAE 90.1-2019 for commercial buildings; zero energy codes including appendices RC and CC of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code; custom codes that lead to equal or even greater energy savings than the latest model codes; and other “innovative code approaches” that also meet or surpass energy savings from applying the latest model codes. 

DOE adopted standards for federal buildings in line with ASHRAE 90.1-2019 last year. The International Code Council estimated then that the change would help save $15 billion in utility costs over 30 years.

The impact of all states updating to the latest energy codes would be equivalent to a reduction of 2-billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years, or removing 445 million gasoline-powered cars from use, according to DOE. 

“Shaping a clean energy future for cities and neighborhoods requires a whole system approach that includes modernizing the building stock to use less energy and be more resilient in the face of increasing natural disasters,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. 

The program is funded by $1 billion from last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. In September, DOE announced the first $400-million funding round for similar grants available to states and territories. The deadline to submit a letter intent for that round passed last month. 

This time, DOE officials say they will award between 40 and 200 grants valued between $1 million and $20 million each, according to the funding opportunity announcement. 

Interested governments can submit concept papers by Feb. 9, and full applications are due by April 30. Officials have also scheduled an informational webinar Jan. 17 for potential applicants.