February 3, 2022


Alexandra Laney, alexandra.laney@imt.org, 530-645-2539

Institute for Market Transformation and Climate Innovation Call for Large-Scale Support of White House-led National Building Performance Standards Coalition, $100M Philanthropic Effort to Fund Equitable, Community-led Policymaking 

Harnessing government commitments to partner with communities and equitably decarbonize buildings across the U.S. could produce better buildings for more than 40 million people, generate $111 billion in cumulative building investments through 2040, and eliminate 567 MMT of carbon emissions cumulatively through 2040.

Washington, DC (February 3, 2022)—On Friday, January 21, the White House Council on Environmental Quality announced the formation of the National Building Performance Standards Coalition to increase community ownership in climate action and equitably decarbonize America’s buildings. In joining the Coalition, 33 U.S. state and local governments commit to work with their communities to co-design building retrofit and upgrade policies by Earth Day 2024. To leverage this moment of governmental alignment on climate action, IMT and Climate Innovation (soon to be the People’s Climate Innovation Center) are calling for an initial investment of $100 million in philanthropic support by Earth Day 2022 to activate an aligned national network of equity, environmental justice, and building decarbonization leaders to magnify impact and lead a just transition to community-centered policymaking.

Both Climate Innovation and IMT supported the Coalition’s formation, and with philanthropic investment, will lead the formation of a robust support network to fulfill the Coalition’s commitments. Both organizations will support participants in equity design and strategy, and will offer technical assistance and recommendations to participating jurisdictions to work with frontline community members in planning and implementing comprehensive policies and programs that reflect their communities’ needs and priorities and increase equitable building upgrades and retrofits. In this work, Climate Innovation and IMT will activate a larger network of equity practitioners, movement support and community-based organizations and technical experts to support jurisdictions and their communities. In tandem, the larger network will also comprehensively pursue opportunities for wider systemic changes that can be activated to increase benefits such as improvements to building codes and utility regulation and increased, more rapid, and equitable access to capital to fund home and building improvements. 

“Community members on the frontlines of climate change are bearing the consequences of inaction most acutely. The participants in the National BPS Coalition have an opportunity to co-design climate and building performance policies in ways that address historic inequities while reducing carbon emissions, lowering energy bills, creating jobs, and making healthier places for everyone,” said Lotte Schlegel, IMT’s executive director. “By partnering with Climate Innovation and the philanthropic community, we can raise and distribute the funds to support community-based organizations in advocating for what their stakeholders need most and provide the technical guidance to take action.”

“We recognize that technological decarbonization strategies are not enough and only go so far in tackling the climate crisis,” says Corrine Van Hook-Turner, Director of Climate Innovation. “As Local Clean Energy Alliance Organizer Jessica Tovar says, ‘Electrifying buildings doesn’t address the core issue of addressing the sources of energy that will power an all electric infrastructure.’ The real transformative work is in addressing the root causes so we can actively transition from an extractive economy to a regenerative one. This requires a deep fundamental shift of our energy and economic systems and how we govern. We must listen, learn from, lift up and invest in our frontline communities who are already asserting strong vision, building power and the solutions we all need.”

A Call to Action for Community-Led Climate Action

“The National Building Performance Standards Coalition represents a uniquely impactful climate action opportunity for states, cities and their partners across the country to rally together in an effort to decarbonize our existing buildings. We are excited to see these policies, co-created with local communities and businesses, implemented with the continued support of the Federal government and other sectors committed to an efficient, affordable, healthier and resilient built environment,” says Mark Chambers, Senior Director, Building Emissions and Community Resilience, White House Council on Environmental Quality.

In calling for robust support of the Coalition participants, Climate Innovation and IMT seek to unlock the potential of the commitments to pursue community-driven climate action to create transformative systemic change and benefits. 

In his statement, “Philanthropy can support Building Performance Standards Coalition by investing in frontline organizations,” The Kresge Foundation President & CEO Rip Rapson noted “I call on my colleagues in philanthropy to support this effort. Philanthropy in all its shapes and sizes—corporate foundations, community foundations, family foundations, national foundations—can make a huge difference in driving the success of the Coalition’s local efforts. We can, in particular, invest in local organizations.”

Working in partnership with The Kresge Foundation and Energy Foundation, Climate Innovation and IMT seek to activate a wide network of aligned equity practitioners, community-based organizations, and technical partners, and provide increased support to Coalition participants to concurrently tackle some of the country’s most difficult challenges, including climate risk, energy burden, housing affordability, grid decarbonization and resilience, and job creation and economic opportunity. IMT estimates that with robust funding and support, fulfilling the Coalition’s commitments could produce better buildings for more than 40 million people, generate $111 billion cumulatively in building investments cumulatively by 2040, and eliminate 567 MMT of carbon emissions cumulatively through 2040. This can be done by:

  • Increasing community-driven climate policy, including greater community ownership of building retrofits, design, and clean energy strategies.
  • Increasing local economic opportunity, especially among frontline communities.
  • Reducing emissions and strengthening resilience by renovating more buildings, faster.
  • Informing complementary federal policy actions and building local and state cooperation for increased innovation and implementation success. 
  • Moving capital more equitably and at scale to improve communities, starting with buildings.
  • Improving government-community relationships for implementation, policy, and ongoing, long-term sustainability efforts.

Climate Innovation and IMT are currently engaging with equity and technical partner organizations, and will hold a convening for potential funders on February 28, 2022. The formal support network will be announced in Spring 2022. To get involved in the support network or the philanthropic coalition, please complete the form below.

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About IMT

For more than 25 years, the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) has partnered with government, business, and philanthropy to improve the spaces where we live, work, and play. IMT focuses on innovative and pragmatic solutions that fuel greater investment in high-performing, energy-efficient buildings. IMT offers hands-on technical assistance and market research, alongside expertise in policy and program development and deployment and promotion of best practices and knowledge exchange. Our innovations have helped reduce carbon emissions and energy costs across billions of square feet of real estate in major U.S. cities; empowered landlords and tenants to overcome barriers to mutually-beneficial building improvements; and increased overall demand for better buildings. Visit us at www.imt.org and follow us on Twitter @IMT_speaks.

About Climate Innovation

Climate Innovation (soon to be People’s Climate Innovation Center) is a Movement Strategy Center (MSC) network partner. Founded in 2001, MSC has been an innovation center for strategic and sustainable movement building, and social transformation and transition. Climate Innovation (former program of MSC and current partner), specifically has been at the forefront of leading the co-development of the Community-Driven Climate Resilience Planning framework since 2013, and thereafter its dissemination and applied practice widely through conferences, local/regional/statewide/national place-based projects, government, philanthropy and beyond. This led to the launch of the National Association of Climate Resilience Planners (NACRP) in 2017—a multi-stakeholder, peer-learning, resource, and referral network that fosters equitable and effective, place-based climate resilience planning and implementation. The Framework, NACRP, and an emerging community of practice seek to continue to define and build this emerging field of community-driven planning by elevating the expertise and successes of grassroots leaders rooted in frontline communities. As such, they bring a whole-systems approach to movement building, cultivating a strong culture of designing transformative solutions that restore and regenerate healthy earth systems and built environments for all. This approach emphasizes the need for solutions that are community-driven, interconnected, and intervene at multiple levels. Visit us at movementstrategy.org/climate-innovation.

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