Roundtable Weekly
States May Tap Into Federal Funds to Help CRE Owners Comply With City Climate Laws
April 12, 2024
DOE LPO webinar on BPS

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new financing program this week for states to access federal funds that could help real estate owners meet state, city, and county building performance standards (BPS).

State Energy Financing Institutions

  • An April 9 webinar hosted by the White House and DOE’s Loan Programs Office provided information on plans to make federal money available to state energy financing institutions (SEFIs).
  • Federal funds deployed under the SEFI program will be channeled through state agencies, which in turn will provide loans and grants to qualified building owners.
  • SEFIs that receive federal DOE “certification” will assist compliance with building emissions and energy efficiency limits set by a growing number of states and localities. 
  • The LPO has released a SEFI Toolkit that describes the contours of the program.
  • The Roundtable supports non-binding federal guidelines that bring national consistency to the conflicting patchwork of local BPS mandates.(DOE “blueprint” to decarbonize buildings; Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)

Funding Criteria

LPO for Building Sector
  • States will establish eligibility financing criteria under federal guidelines. They will likely prioritize disbursements to buildings in low-income areas and low-income housing.
  • SEFI funds could be deployed to support commercial-to-residential property conversions in jurisdictions with BPS laws.
  • To scale the program, DOE stated on the webinar that federal funds channeled through the states will be geared to support energy work on a portfolio of buildings rather than single projects.
  • The agency also stated that DOE-sourced funds will aim to support assets that strive to meet the forthcoming national definition for a Zero Emissions Building (“ZEB”). (Roundtable Fact Sheet on ZEB, Jan. 18)

The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) continues to work closely with the White House and DOE on climate initiatives impacting commercial real estate.

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