By Steve O’Rourke, Missouri Gateway GBC 2022 Board Chair and Profit Center Manager at Greentech Renewables
The Inflation Reduction Act has been widely lauded as the most aggressive action toward tackling the climate crisis in American history, and the White House just released a 183-page Guidebook to the IRA’s Investments in Clean Energy and Climate Action. While the bill includes a variety of other measures, the provisions for renewable energy and efficiency are intended to reduce energy costs, create good jobs and significantly reduce carbon emissions.
One of the chief objectives of the IRA is to build American clean energy supply chains by incentivizing domestic production. This will strengthen America’s manufacturing base with targeted tax incentives and create good-paying jobs with bonus incentives for prevailing wages. It also provides incentives to invest in low-income and “energy” communities that have previously relied upon fossil fuel production as a significant source of employment.
Since buildings are responsible for a significant portion of carbon emissions, the Missouri Gateway GBC and our partners at the Building Energy Exchange-STL have been actively promoting the bill’s measures related to building performance. Recently, BE-Ex STL and its partners at the Building Performance Partnership hosted the first of a quarterly webinar series on the IRA: Building a Better Future: Demystifying the IRA.
Among the provisions in the IRA that address building performance are incentives available for residential investments in clean energy and energy efficiency, including building envelope improvements, HVAC equipment and appliances, and EV charging equipment. Commercial incentives to improve energy efficiency have also been expanded, along with additional tax credits for clean energy projects with bonus incentives that can total up to 60% of the project costs. Tax credits are guaranteed through 2034, enabling a predictable set of financial incentives to exponentially increase our domestic clean energy supply, dramatically reducing our carbon emissions.
USGBC produced a summary overview of the IRA to break much of this down into a 16-slide presentation, with additional links embedded for a deeper dive. Details are still forthcoming on important definitions, such as what is required for “domestic content” provisions. Please take time to explore this important legislation to see how you can advance climate action now! And stay tuned for a future Missouri Gateway GBC program in April 2023 were I will be presenting more information on this topic along with a few colleagues.