New guide supports scaling up residential energy-efficiency programs

The Energy Department’s State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action) teamed up with the Home Performance Coalition (HPC) to create A Policymaker’s Guide to Scaling Home Energy Upgrades. SEEHPC

Released on Oct. 1, the guide is designed to provide state and local policymakers with a comprehensive set of tools for launching or accelerating residential energy-efficiency programs. HPC President and CEO Brian T. Castelli said, “The work within this guide will empower policymakers with the knowledge they need to create new and effective energy-efficiency programs while strengthening those that already exist. This in turn strengthens our industry as a whole.”

There has never been a better time to launch initiatives to promote residential energy-efficiency savings. Over the past several decades, residential retrofit programs have demonstrated that energy-efficiency measures contribute to achieving multiple benefits. Among them are reducing home energy consumption, stabilizing improvements for the grid by shaving peak loads, saving consumers millions on utility bills and significantly reducing carbon emissions.

The 2009 stimulus program added to the store of lessons learned that guide authors drew on to create new strategies for taking residential energy efficiency to scale.  The guide will help policymakers, including state and local executives, legislators, public utility commissioners and advisory staff to take full advantage of these new policy developments.

The four categories of policies outlined in the guide focus on approaches that have provided a particularly effective framework for successful energy-efficiency programs:

  • Incentives and financing
  • Making the value of energy efficiency visible in the real estate market
  • Data access and standardization

Supporting utility system procurement of energy efficiency These policies are designed to overcome barriers in both the consumer and utility markets. In the consumer market, policies address:

  • Challenges related to the quantification of savings
  • Insufficiently compelling value proposition
  • High first costs

Contractor delivery system challenges Policies for the utility system markets address:

  • Non-alignment between utility incentives and energy efficiency
  • Design of cost-effectiveness tests that systematically undervalues energy efficiency

Local and state policymakers will find the information they need to build smart programs that address financing, incentives, the value of energy efficiency in real estate transactions, disincentives in the utility sector (e.g. reform of cost effectiveness testing), and evaluation, monitoring and verification issues.  The guide also highlights the keys to implementing sound policies.

Visit SEE Action to download the full report, and while you are there, check out the other great resources this program has to offer.

Source: Home Performance Coalition, 10/5/15