Residential Energy Efficiency for Local Governments

In the U.S., residential buildings account for 21% of total energy consumption. Household expenditures for energy exceed $219 billion per year, with annual household costs averaging $1,856 per year ($2,137/year for single family homes and $1,132 for multifamily units). Local governments that have established energy savings goals can develop and implement a range of programs and strategies to reduce residential energy use in their communities. Furthermore, lowering residential energy costs can contribute to other local government objectives, including housing affordability, energy reliability, improvements in health outcomes, updated aging housing infrastructure, investments in clean energy, and workforce and economic development.

The U.S. Department of Energy has worked with local governments to develop a range of strategies to improve residential energy efficiency. These include establishing energy efficient building codes for new homes, raising awareness of the energy performance of homes through labeling programs, increasing access to affordable financing to make home energy improvements, and starting initiatives to serve low-income households, rental properties and multifamily buildings.

This resource guide is intended to help local governments develop and implement policies and programs for improving the energy efficiency of single family and multifamily homes in their communities. It highlights replicable programs demonstrated by communities across the country, and provides informational resources, including analytical tools and model programs for a wide range of communities and demographic regions to support successful program development and implementation.

The following actionable strategies are highlighted:

Local Planning  Codes and Standards  Home Energy Labeling

Financing  Incentives  Affordable Housing

Each strategy in the guide includes information answering the following questions:

  • What is the strategy and why is it important?
  • Who should be engaged when implementing this strategy?
  • Which DOE tools and resources can help?
  • What other resources are available?
  • How are these strategies in action by local governments?

Additional Resources:

DOE’s Better Buildings Residential Network: Connects energy efficiency programs and partners to share best practices and learn from one another to increase the number of homes that are energy efficient. Local governments can learn from the experiences of their peers through peer exchange calls and other forums for sharing information on topics of interest. Contact:

DOE’s Residential Program Solution Center: A repository for lessons learned, resources, and knowledge from program administrators and industry experts across the country. Find information to help plan, operate, and evaluate residential energy efficiency programs. 

Residential Energy Efficiency for Local Governments Fact Sheet: This fact sheet introduces and summarizes the Residential Energy Efficiency for Local Governments resource guide.