Energy & Efficiency / Sustainable Communities

CFE, ENE Release New Report on Residential Energy Efficiency Financing Programs

Yesterday, we, along with ENE (Environment Northeast), released a new report that examines important issues surrounding the creation of successful residential energy efficiency financing programs. Residential energy efficiency programs around the nation provide incentives to homeowners and renters to implement energy efficient upgrades like improved insulation, windows, and more efficient heating and cooling systems and household appliances.

Photo: CL&P Home Energy Solutions

Investing in residential energy efficiency programs is key to achieving our country’s most important environmental goals.  These investments cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and reduce local pollution while providing long-term financial benefits to homeowners.  Unfortunately, these investment opportunities have gone untapped for too long.

As a part of programs to incentivize homeowners to invest in energy efficiency, states have been establishing specialized energy efficiency financing programs, like Home Energy Solutions (supported by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund).  Financing programs can help expand participation in the program if properly designed.  The overwhelming lesson learned from our new report is that there are a whole host of program design elements, beyond the financing terms, that are essential for the success of energy efficiency financing products and, consequently, the programs as a whole.  Addressing all of the aspects of financing programs discussed in this report is crucial to design a program that is well-integrated with the broader energy efficiency program.

The report specifically examines 10 key aspects of residential energy efficiency programs that contribute to program uptake and successful implementation, including:

  • goals and mission;
  • program administration;
  • funding;
  • rebates and incentives;
  • marketing, education and outreach;
  • application process; contractor support;
  • technical assistance to participants;
  • quality assurance; and
  • evaluation, measurement, and verification.

It then looks at how these program aspects play out in seven residential financing programs around the country: Clean Energy Works Oregon, Keystone HELP (Pennsylvania), Energize Delaware, NYSERDA Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, SoCal Gas Home Energy Upgrade Financing, Center for Energy and Environment (Minnesota), and Massachusetts HEAT Loan.

You can read the full report here.

CFE and ENE commissioned Vermont-based Energy Futures Group to author the report. Contributing authors include Ann Grodnik-Nagle of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy and Peter Adamczyk of the Vermont Energy Investment Corp. The report was made possible by a grant from the Merck Family Fund.

Posted by Mark LeBel, energy fellow for CFE/Save the Sound

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