Architects celebrate climate action and community investment in the Cut Inflation Act

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) applauds Congress’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (HR 5376), which addresses the association’s policy priorities, including building code provisions, climate tax incentives and affordable housing.

The Cut Inflation Act includes about $370 billion in energy and climate-related spending, making it the largest federal investment to address climate change in history.

“I am proud of the work the AIA has done to get Congress to include language addressing our legislative priorities,” said AIA Executive Vice President/CEO Lakisha Ann Woods, CAE. “AIA’s ongoing commitment to advocating for legislation addressing greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment as well as resilient and affordable communities is evident throughout this bill. Although the climate crisis still requires our unrelenting attention, this legislation is a step in the right direction.

Key AIA provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act:

  • Building energy codes: $330 million in grants to states and local governments to adopt the latest energy codes that meet or exceed the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2021 and/or ASHRAE 90.1-2019. It also provides an additional $670 million to states and localities to adopt and implement expanded zero-energy codes.
  • Energy efficiency of federal buildings:$250 million for General Services Administration (GSA) facility upgrades and $2.15 billion for the Federal Buildings Fund, to be used by the GSA to acquire and install embodied low-carbon materials and products intended for the construction or modification of buildings. The legislation also provides $975 million for the GSA to invest in emerging and sustainable technologies.
  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund: $7 billion in competitive grants to enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy or benefit from zero-emission technologies, including distributed technologies on residential rooftops, and to conduct other greenhouse gas emissions reduction activities greenhouse effect.
  • Rebates for energy efficiency/home electrification: $4.3 billion to state energy offices to develop a HOMES rebate program, which will reimburse homeowners and aggregators for whole-home energy-saving upgrades. The legislation also provides an additional $4.275 billion to state energy offices to establish a rebate program for high-efficiency electric homes. Rebates can be used for appliance upgrades, such as heat pumps, electric ranges/ovens, and non-appliance upgrades, such as insulation, electrical wiring and ventilation .
  • Tax incentives: The legislation also makes significant changes to several tax incentives, including the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction (179D), Home Improvement Credit (25C), Energy Efficient New Home Credit ( 45L) and the research and development tax credit. (R&D).

A more detailed overview of building sector investments in legislation is available here.

Visit the AIA’s website to learn more about its advocacy efforts.

Jill E. Washington