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Department Of Energy

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $45 Million to Improve Energy Efficiency for Nonprofit Buildings

June 5, 2023
The Administration hopes to improve building efficiency to reduce carbon emissions

Last month, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that applications are open for the Renew America’s Nonprofits grant, a funding opportunity that will support projects to reduce energy use in buildings owned and operated by 501(c)(3) nonprofits. As stated in the press release, "this competitive grant — authorized by President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — demonstrates an engagement between DOE and the nonprofit sector and recognizes the central role that nonprofits play in American’s lives, as well as their potential significance in the nation’s clean energy transition. By investing in nonprofits, DOE is investing in America’s physical and social infrastructure, reducing emissions and utility costs in vital institutions so that savings can be redirected to mission-critical work serving communities." 

There are approximately 1.5 million 501(c)(3) nonprofits in the United States and they historically employ the third-largest workforce in the American economy – more than 12.4 million people. These organizations also operate more than half a million facilities, mostly in commercial spaces where efficiency improvements can reduce energy use by up to 30%. This indicates significant potential for reducing emissions nationally. Given that most nonprofits operate on annual budgets of less than $500,000, energy savings have the potential to build organizational and community resiliency and to increase their service capacities.   

The Renew America’s Nonprofits grant is a pivotal opportunity to create partnerships between nonprofit stakeholders that stimulate widespread energy improvements in the sector. To enhance the technical and administrative capacity of nonprofits seeking access to this funding, DOE is using an aggregation model. Under this model, DOE will award 5-15 larger grants to nonprofits interested in serving as Prime recipients that will recruit and provide technical assistance to eligible projects. These Prime recipients will assemble and support a group of energy-efficiency projects in the facilities of other nonprofit organizations. The Renew America’s Nonprofits grant aligns with the Justice40 Initiative and encourages applicants to show how their projects will benefit historically disadvantaged communities. Ultimately, hundreds of nonprofit facilities should be represented across these project bundles. 

For more information, visit the DOE's website.