The Biden administration announced hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding to upgrade energy codes nationwide that conform with strict energy efficiency standards, a move experts said is tantamount to a backdoor natural gas ban.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said it will begin accepting applications for a total of $530 million in technical assistance competitive grants for local residential and commercial building code upgrades as part of its implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). 

According to DOE, adoption of the latest model energy codes, zero energy codes and building performance standards would lead to widespread emissions reductions.

“Shaping a clean energy future for cities and neighborhoods requires a whole system approach that includes modernizing the building stock to use less energy and be more resilient in the face of increasing natural disasters,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.


“Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re supporting states and local governments as they adopt and implement proven solutions that will save consumers money, reduce climate pollution and build a place-based workforce of well-paid, in-demand jobs for local community members,” she continued.

Overall, the IRA earmarks $1 billion to the DOE for awarding grants to local jurisdictions to adopt the most recent energy codes, the 2021 International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC) developed by the International Code Council. In September, DOE opened applications for another $400 million for building code upgrades under the IRA.

The IECC, which is slated to be updated again in 2024, includes various standards guaranteeing a high level of energy efficiency in new building construction. According to the National Association of Home Builders, though, the 2021 IECC could make a new home as much as $31,000 more expensive because of the technological upgrades.


And experts said the federal push to incentivize more efficient energy codes nationwide could lead to policies banning new buildings from having natural gas hookups and require them to be “all-electric.”

“It’s a lot of money, and it’s clearly designed to push the Biden administration’s climate agenda onto state and local governments,” Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News Digital in an interview. “It’s being done through a number of carrots and sticks — carrots in the form of grants to standard-setting bodies and state and local governments if they go along with the climate agenda.

“A big part of this is the war on natural gas,” Lieberman continued. “These building codes, that’s where you see these bans on natural gas hookups for new construction. You could also see other things like increasing the safety requirements for natural gas, not out of any legitimate concern over the safety of natural gas, but just trying to make things more expensive and more difficult for natural gas.”


Environmentalists have for years zeroed in on the U.S. buildings sector as part of their efforts to curb emissions and combat global warming. Buildings account for roughly 30% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions including electricity generation, and 13% of emissions excluding electricity, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Several Democratic-led cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and New York City — collectively home to more than 10 million Americans — have also already enacted varying restrictions on natural gas hookups in recent years.

“These local code updates are typically outside the public’s view because they’re so obscure and no one pays attention to them,” Diana Furchtgott-Roth, the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment, told Fox News Digital in an interview. “But that’s where a lot of the incentives for natural gas bans and electrification mandates are happening. This is over $500 million flowing to those localities for the express purpose of changing codes to effectively ban gas.

“It’s going to be more expensive for consumers in the long run. The answer is to have energy and appliances on a level playing field and to let people choose what they want,” she said. “They’re perfectly capable of making those choices, and it’s very suspicious when the government is trying to incentivize them to do one thing or another.”

In addition to the Biden administration’s efforts to push new, more energy-efficient building codes nationwide, it has also issued a wide range of new regulations targeting gas-powered home appliances. For example, it has taken aim at gas water heaters, stoves and furnaces, which critics say will only lead to higher prices for consumers.