America’s energy efficiency workforce was hard-hit by COVID-19. According to a report from E2, 2020 shutdowns wiped out nearly 272,000 jobs in the sector (11 percent), reversing three years of gains.
The HOPE for HOMES Act of 2021, which was introduced in Congress yesterday, will provide $8.4 billion for both immediate and long-term initiatives to support the residential energy efficiency sector in the face of sustained challenges stemming from the pandemic.
Passing this act is critical for many reasons. Supporting energy efficiency and home performance creates local jobs and helps homeowners in both single-family and multifamily buildings by reducing energy bills and improving the quality and comfort of their homes.
By utilizing smart meter data to quantify energy savings and hourly demand changes, HOPE for HOMES represents a critical leap forward to enable energy efficiency and demand flexibility to take its place as a stable, low-cost, grid and climate resource. Through the measured performance incentive track, utilizing open-source measured energy efficiency at the meter and pay-for-performance, and by requiring meter-based calibration and quantification of weather normalized results for modeled and deemed tracks, this bill represents a significant advance from a tradition of modeling and deemed results to a future based on delivered outcomes at the meter.
A Giant Leap Forward for Measured Performance
The HOPE for HOMES legislation is a new measured performance incentive program for residential and commercial buildings for states that participate in the Home Energy Savings Retrofit Rebate Program. HOPE for HOMES also includes additional incentives to promote electrification and to support low-income and equity goals.
This pathway specifies the use of open-source advanced measurement and verification (AM&V) software to determine and document the monthly and hourly weather-normalized baseline and post-implementation energy use of a home. By measuring outcomes at the meter using open-source tools, such as the Linux Foundation Energy OpenEEmeter, HOPE for HOMES enables confidence in energy efficiency impacts and pay-for-performance cash flows.
Using meter-based pay-for-performance (also known as Normalized Metered Energy Consumption) has become an established approach for demand flexibility and efficiency programs and markets in California, New York, and other states. This bill represents the first time it would become a Federal standard.
Establishing meter-based performance as the standard for efficiency and demand flexibility opens the door to deploy a much more comprehensive range of technologies and business models to address grid challenges and meet carbon reduction goals. The measured performance pathway in HOPE for HOMES is also aligned with Biden Administration’s goals for demand flexibility, as articulated this week in the DOE “National Roadmap for Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings.”
HOPE for HOMES enables utilities and regulators to send a price signal to engage the growing numbers of innovative companies (aka aggregators) developing the technologies and business models needed to deploy behind-the-meter solutions to the nation's approximately 140 million homes.
HOPE for HOMES represents the culmination of decades of collaboration between industry, policy leaders, and stakeholders working to chart a course forward for a cleaner and more efficient energy future. Recurve would like to thank congressional sponsors of the bill. We look forward to working with Congress, the Biden Administration, and industry stakeholders to see it signed into law.
The HOPE for HOMES Act will create rebates for homeowners to invest in energy efficiency improvements, including:
- $800 to add insulation to their home.
- $1,500 for adding insulation and replacing part of their HVAC system.
- $2,500 for adding insulation and the installation of an air source or ground source heat pump.
- $2,000 for retrofits that lead to modeled or measured savings of 20-35% of whole-house or multifamily building energy use.
- $4,000 for retrofits that lead to modeled or measured savings of 35% of whole-house or multifamily building energy use.
- Doubling the rebate amount for moderate-income families.
- A rebate based on actual energy savings, per kilowatt-hour, for homes and multifamily buildings that demonstrate measured energy savings of at least 15%.
- An additional $200 rebate for each retrofit completed in an underserved community.
In addition, the bill will:
- Authorize $500 million in grants to help develop training curriculums and assist companies in providing financial incentives to contractors to undertake online training to advance their capabilities to efficiently retrofit homes.
- Provide $1,000 per employee rehired, up to $10,000 total, to contracting companies willing to cover the costs of training and technology upgrades needed to achieve online learning.
- Provide a $1,000 stipend to contractors who complete the HOPE Training and are prepared to advance their careers and help homeowners with home retrofits.
Over 30 organizations have endorsed this bill, including: Advanced Energy Economy, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), Alliance to Save Energy, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Association for Energy Affordability, Inc., Basement Health Association, Building Performance Association (BPA), Building Performance Institute, Connecticut Efficiency for All, Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN), E4TheFuture, Energy Efficiency Alliance – New Jersey, High Performance Insulation Professionals (HPIP), Institute for Market Transformation , Insulation Contractors Association of America (ICAA), Johnson Controls, Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, Knauf Insulation, LIUNA, Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC LLC, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) , National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), National Center for Healthy Housing, National Housing Trust, North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), PACE Nation, Piedmont Housing Alliance, Pearl Certification, Recurve, Sierra Club, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), U.S. Green Building Council, VEIC.