White House Executive Actions Use Energy Efficiency To Combat Climate Change, Poverty
As part of its commitment to combatting climate change, the Obama Administration recently announced a number of executive actions and other steps to advance energy efficiency, including in low-income communities. The measures also increase deployment of solar and other renewable energy.
One of the measures directs the Corporation for National and Community Service to consider energy efficiency and climate resilience as factors in selecting new VISTA anti-poverty service projects in low-income communities – the first use of those criteria.
Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing
The executive actions also include supporting clean energy and energy efficiency for affordable housing, with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) affirming that Section 108 funding can be used for clean energy and energy efficiency projects. HUD is to release a renewable energy toolkit in early 2015 with information on using Community Planning and Development funds for cost-effective renewable energy components and cogeneration.
The White House is also strengthening energy codes for commercial and residential buildings to cut emissions by 230 million metric tons of CO2 through 2030 and proposing a new efficiency standard for commercial rooftop air conditioners that would slash their energy use by about 30 percent, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
If adopted, the new AC standard would save more energy than any previous standard set by the Department of Energy: 11.7 quads of energy over the lifetime of units sold over 30 years, which is equivalent to more than half of one year’s U.S. residential energy use, the White House said. It also would help cut carbon pollution by more than 60 million metric tons and could save consumers nearly $10 billion on their energy bills through 2030.
The new executive actions also include:
- Partnering with up to three military bases to create a veterans solar job training pilot; and
- Investing $68 million in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in rural areas across the country, including 240 solar projects.
Overall, the White House said, the actions will cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year – and save consumers and businesses more than $10 billion on their energy bills.