Improving the American Indoors: The Health, Economic, and Community Benefits of Zero-Carbon Buildings

September 21, 2022
Apartment Building

Key Takeaways:


BUILDINGS ARE A CORNERSTONE OF MODERN LIFE, and are the basis for many of the social, physical, and economic patterns that form within communities.


ZERO-CARBON BUILDINGS OFFER BETTER AIR QUALITY, ENERGY- EFFICIENCY AND HOUSEHOLD SAVINGS GAINS, high-quality local employment opportunities, a more equitable built environment, and climate-resilient grids and communities.


RECENT FEDERAL LEGISLATION PROVIDES SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENTS IN CLEAN ENERGY, offering a historic opportunity to fundamentally transform U.S. buildings, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings while driving innovation in key industries and delivering health and economic benefits to households across the country.


LOCAL COMMUNITIES STAND POISED TO BENEFIT through building electrification and energy efficiency measures, land use planning that prioritizes housing stock, strategic use of procurement standards and a life-cycle approach to building design, construction, and demolition, and integrating building operations with the electricity grid.


BUILDING PERFORMANCE AND APPLIANCE STANDARDS, as well as updates to building codes, can support the decarbonization of new and existing building stock and should be accompanied by measures to ensure housing affordability.


OUR CURRENT BUILT ENVIRONMENT IMPOSES DISPROPORTIONATE HEALTH AND ENERGY COSTS on low-income and non-white communities, and thoughtful policy design can reduce inequality by targeting investments toward building decarbonization and energy efficiency initiatives for these communities.


AMBITIOUS NON-FEDERAL ACTION TO DECARBONIZE BUILDINGS can accelerate the energy transition and help set the U.S. on a path to meet its Paris Agreement target of reducing emissions 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. 

The Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provide historic opportunities to invest in building decarbonization through electrification, energy efficiency and other clean energy upgrades. ;Zero-carbon buildings offer U.S. states, businesses, and households a pathway to reduce emissions whole also reaping a plethora of economic, health and resiliency benefits for local communities. A new America is All In report details the many benefits of decarbonization.