This summer, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced 15 research and outreach partnerships to help improve the energy efficiency of American homes. These partnerships are part of the DOE’s Building America Program, a research and outreach initiative that’s been developing energy-efficient design and construction solutions since the mid-1990s.

These new Building America partnerships mean the expansion of the program from six teams to 15. These multidisciplinary teams will receive a total of up to $30 million for the initial 18 months of the projects to deliver innovative energy-efficiency strategies to the residential market and address barriers to bringing high-efficiency homes within reach for all Americans.

Radical Improvements

The research and outreach partnerships will develop and implement energy-efficiency solutions in both existing and new construction to radically improve the performance of our nation’s housing stock — initially by 30% above existing housing stock. About three quarters of the work will focus on improving the retrofit market, with the remainder focused on stretch goals for the new-construction market.

“Home energy efficiency is one of the easiest, most immediate, and most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon pollution and save money on energy bills while creating new jobs,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “By developing and using tools to reduce residential energy use, we will spur economic growth here in America and help homeowners make cost-cutting improvements in their homes.”

To kick off a new focus on energy-efficiency building retrofits, the DOE hosted the Residential Building Energy Efficiency Meeting 2010 in Denver, Colo., from July 2022, to present cutting-edge research results, identify stakeholder and market transformation needs, and facilitate collaboration between stakeholders and participants.

Program Goals

But what does this mean to remodelers? The Building America Program’s new goals include the development of guidelines for retrofit and new construction that will directly support remodelers, other energy-efficiency programs, and initiatives such as the DOE’s BetterBuildings Program. Plans for specific guidelines have yet to be released, but expect to see an onslaught of new material from the program toward the end of 2011, which will include hands-on strategies for implementing energy-efficient solutions in renovation and new construction.

Interested in learning more about the Building America Program and staying up to date on the results and materials developed as part of these new partnerships? Visit