This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 08, 2013

Energy Efficiency Upgrades Help Build Better Neighborhoods

In hundreds of communities all across the country, the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program is spurring an energy efficiency transformation. Working with states, counties and cities, the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program is helping American families and business owners make energy efficiency upgrades that are saving them money and improving the efficiency of our nation’s buildings.

Created in 2010, the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program awarded $508 million in one-time grants to more than 40 state and local governments to create self-sustaining energy efficiency programs, ensuring that the building upgrade industry will be able to support the demand for energy efficiency improvements long after the initial grants run out. By collaborating with local nonprofits, financial institutions, building efficiency experts and utilities, these programs are making it easier for consumers to access skilled energy efficiency professionals and obtain affordable loans for upgrades.

From neighborhood sweeps and energy advisors to on-bill loan payment and community-wide competitions, Better Buildings Neighborhood partners are showing real progress in increasing the comfort of our homes, lowering the operating costs for businesses and creating local job growth. In a little over two years, they have helped Americans improve the energy efficiency of more than 47,000 homes and 60 million square feet of commercial space—achieving 15-20% in energy savings or more with every upgrade. These improvements are saving homeowners and businesses more than $41.2 million in annual energy costs while generating thousands of local energy efficiency jobs. For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.