Biden could save families thousands on energy bills with efficiency rules for US-backed home loans

(ACEEE blog, 26 May 2022) The Biden administration could save many low- and moderate-income households thousands of dollars—and cut greenhouse gas emissions—by updating energy efficiency requirements for new federally supported homes, according to a study today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Congress directed federal agencies to periodically update efficiency criteria for new homes purchased with the support of federally backed mortgages and federal housing programs. But the regulators have not updated the criteria for most of the homes since 2015. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pledged in July 2021 to take a key step toward updating the standards by the end of that year, but it has not yet done so.

The ACEEE study finds that updating the standards could save the average household in a federally supported single-family home nearly $2,800 in reduced energy bills, net of costs. And they could yield more than $5,700 in total net savings per household when including other benefits of improved homes, such as better health outcomes. The calculations were based over 30 years.

“Right now, taxpayer dollars are helping people get homes that just aren’t built to modern standards, and it leaves residents—often low- and moderate-income families—paying needlessly high energy bills,” said Steven Nadel, ACEEE executive director. “The good news is that Congress actually figured out years ago that there need to be some minimum efficiency standards for these homes. But it’s up to the Biden administration to get the update done.”

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ACEEE blog, 26 May 2022: Biden could save families thousands on energy bills with efficiency rules for US-backed home loans