Sometimes Our Politicians Agree on Something

Natalie Meyer

By Natalie Meyer, Chair of USGBC Missouri Gateway Advocacy Committee, Senior Account Executive Siemens 

We all agree that our planet needs a hug, but it seems that when our attitude meets political action it does not happen fast enough or with enough force to be effective. However, on August 7th, the U.S. passed the Inflation Reduction Act. This is the largest climate investment in U.S. history, and it will provide $370 Billion to energy and climate provisions. 

No matter what degree of tree hugger you may fall in, we all agree that our climate crisis is real, but it is hard to understand how we can individually impact the global predicament. Fortunately, the Inflation Reduction Act provides the funding resources and tax benefits for individual homeowners and commercial business owners to act fast. Check out this “By the Numbers” fact sheet released by the White House to learn more about how this legislation impacts Americans: bit.ly/IRA-ByTheNumbers

In the U.S. commercial & residential buildings account for nearly 40% of the total greenhouse gas emissions while transportation accounts for 27%. The Inflation Reduction Act targets both of these sectors in a few of the following ways that you as the individual consumer can act on while updating or buying a new home or thinking about your next vehicle purchase. 

Sec. 45L Homebuilder Tax Credit – expands the homebuilder credit from $2,000 to $2,500 for meeting ENERGY STAR standards and $5,000 for meeting the US Department of Energy zero-energy ready standards. 

Sec. 25C Homeowner Improvement Tax Credit – increased from 10% for eligible expenses and $500 per lifetime to 30% for eligible expenses and up to $1,200-$2,000 per year. Eligible expenses include more efficient systems like water heaters, HVAC units, heat pumps, windows, insulation, etc. 

Sec. 25D Residential Clean Energy Credit – extends the full 30% credit for onsite solar, solar water heating, small wind, and geothermal through 2032. 

Building Energy Code Adoption – $1 billion to support state and local governments’ implementation of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code. 

Clean Vehicle Incentives – extends the credit for up to $7,500 for purchasing qualified clean vehicles. 

Many of you may know that the City of St. Louis recently passed the Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS) into law in May of 2020. St. Louis is one of a handful of cities in the country to pass such a standard and the first in the Midwest to mandate reductions of this magnitude in building energy use. Our city is ready to address climate change for some of our largest energy users, but we still have a lot of work to do in our individual homes & businesses. 

If you call St. Louis your home like I have for the last 30 years we both know that this beloved city is a great place to live, play, work, explore and grow a family. Let’s see if we can take some of these much-needed climate provisions into action and start to do our part in protecting our climate for our future St. Louisans. Join USGBC-Missouri Gateway in our efforts to advance Buildings As Climate Solutions! www.usgbc-mogateway.org