In an ambitious move to tackle the persistent issue of high carbon footprints in small commercial and multifamily buildings, a national coalition consisting of nine major U.S. cities and counties has unveiled a comprehensive turnkey building decarbonization program. Known as Building Decarbonization In-a-Box (BDAB), this initiative aims to expedite the adoption of clean-energy technologies across an estimated six million buildings nationwide. These buildings, typically less than 50,000 square feet in size, account for 44% of the total energy used in the building sector and a significant portion of the nation’s carbon emissions.

The cities of Atlanta, Fort Collins, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Reno, and San Antonio, along with the counties of Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Montgomery, are pioneering this program. They are supported by three companies—UtilityAPI, Allectrify, and Sustainable Real Estate Solutions (SRS)—and four non-profit green banks. This coalition’s formation follows closely on the heels of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency distributing $20 billion in competitive “green bank” grants through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, highlighting a national commitment to greener urban futures.

Historically, small commercial and multifamily buildings have been somewhat overlooked in wider decarbonization efforts, primarily due to the perceived high costs and complexities involved in upgrading these structures. However, they represent a critical sector where significant improvements in energy efficiency can be achieved. BDAB is set to provide building owners with the necessary tools and financial incentives to undertake such upgrades, effectively bridging the gap between federal funding and actionable, local-level environmental sustainability efforts.

To effectively roll out the BDAB program, the participating cities and counties will leverage essential data sets including building permits, energy benchmarking, and customer utility data. This integrated approach will enable the identification of buildings that stand to gain most from energy-saving upgrades, such as heat pump installations. These buildings will be targeted through direct mail and digital marketing campaigns, ensuring that the program’s reach is as extensive as necessary.

Moreover, no-cost technical and financial guidance will be provided to building owners, facilitated by sophisticated software solutions developed by SRS, UtilityAPI, and Allectrify. An additional component of the program is the expansion of the local community lenders network, which will be equipped to offer ‘green financing’, such as 100% long-term Commercial PACE financing through Allectrify’s FASTPACE platform.

This public-private partnership marks a substantial step forward in using municipal and utility data to drive decarbonization projects at a scale previously unseen. By harnessing federal funding, the BDAB initiative not only aims to reduce carbon emissions substantially but also to stimulate local economies by creating green jobs and reducing energy costs for building owners and tenants alike.

The broader implications of such a program are profound. By focusing on smaller, often older and economically disadvantaged community buildings, BDAB is set to contribute significantly toward reducing the overall energy consumption and carbon emissions of urban areas, aligning with broader national and global goals for sustainability and climate resilience. This strategic approach amplifies the potential for a replicable model that other municipalities across the United States could adopt, further spreading the benefits of clean energy and sustainable infrastructure.

In essence, Building Decarbonization In-a-Box represents a unique convergence of governmental support, private innovation, and community-focused financial solutions, aimed squarely at transforming one of the most challenging sectors in the climate battle. This initiative sets a benchmark for localized environmental action, leveraging federal support to make significant strides in urban sustainability efforts across the country.