Survey of U.S. State and Local Building Decarbonization Policies and Programs

Building decarbonization has been a growing focus for climate initiatives among local and state governments in the United States over the past several years. Such initiatives are often focused on building end-use electrification. They include (a) electrification codes for various building types and end-uses in new buildings, (b) building performance standards for existing, large commercial buildings, (c) new funding mechanisms to encourage fuel switching from fossil fuel-based heating to electric heat pumps, (d) modifications to energy efficiency program cost-effectiveness screening to encourage electrification, and (e) heating oil taxes to fund heat pump installations.

We reviewed 15 state and local jurisdictions for these policies and programs across the United States representing a range of different approaches. In this paper, we summarize key findings from this survey. We highlight the range of policy and program options that have been implemented, adopted, or are under development and the regulatory and policy mechanisms utilized. We also provide relevant context such as local policy, political culture, building energy use, and utility providers. In addition, our paper summarizes, where relevant, the opinions of various stakeholders expressed during the development of the local and state policies. Finally, based on these assessments, we identify barriers to and success factors for adoption of effective building decarbonization policies. This research offers a variety of cutting-edge policy and program options for state and local governments to consider adopting. The research can also help policymakers, advocates, and other stakeholders assess current and future progress toward building decarbonization policy and program development and implementation.