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What Is the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program?

The Better Buildings Neighborhood Program is part of the Better Buildings Initiative—a program within the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) that is lowering barriers to energy efficiency in buildings.

Better Buildings is helping to catalyze a building upgrade industry that can eventually be sustained in the private sector. To overcome several key challenges that have prevented the development of a self-sustaining building upgrade market on the national level, Better Buildings is:

  • Working with local and state governments, community organizations, and building contractors to provide homeowners and building owners with easily understandable information about energy efficiency benefits and how to obtain them.
  • Using federal funds to attract private sector investments, enabling financial institutions to offer affordable loans for energy efficiency where they have not previously been available to consumers.
  • Collaborating with local program partners to ensure that consumers have access to skilled energy professionals and that workers have the training and business skills they need to be successful.
Read the Program Fact Sheet—Better Buildings for a Better Future

Hundreds of Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners around the country are helping homeowners, businesses, and institutions make significant energy improvements. To learn more, read the Program Fact Sheet—Better Buildings for a Better Future.

Watch the Video

Learn how Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners are bringing the benefits of energy upgrades to their neighborhoods.

View the text version of the video.

Funding

Using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) and annual appropriations, the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program provided $508 million in one-time grants to states and localities in 2010 (read more about the history of BetterBuildings). These entities work with nonprofits, building energy efficiency experts, financial institutions, utilities, and other organizations to develop and incubate community-based programs and incentives to spur demand for building energy upgrades. This demand is being met by private sector energy efficiency experts and financial institutions, creating jobs and improving local economies.

Partner Grant Recipients

The program's 41 grant partners are serving hundreds of communities across the country. The partners share a common vision of creating a self-sustaining market for building energy efficiency improvements that results in economic, environmental, and energy benefits across the United States.

Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners are using a variety of innovative approaches to help building owners save money by saving energy through building upgrades―providing increased comfort for homeowners, lower operating costs for businesses, and local job growth. The grant funds are serving as seed funding that will enable communities to develop the infrastructure for a self-sustaining energy efficiency market in the private sector.

Better Buildings Neighborhood Program Goals

Better Buildings communities will use federal funds to help achieve the following goals by the end of 2013:

  • Develop sustainable energy efficiency upgrade programs
  • Upgrade more than 100,000 residential and commercial buildings to be more energy efficient
  • Save consumers approximately $65 million annually on their energy bills
  • Achieve 15% to 30% energy savings from energy efficiency upgrades
  • Reduce the cost of energy efficiency program delivery by 20% or more
  • Engage 10,000 to 30,000 contractors in work on energy efficiency upgrades
  • Leverage $1 to $3 billion in additional resources.

What's Next?

DOE is transitioning the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program to a voluntary, national residential energy efficiency membership network. The Better Buildings Residential Network is open to past partners, as well as new organizations. To learn more, read the "Launching the Next Phase of the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program" presentation.