Home Energy Efficiency Programs: What They Are and Why They Work. National Home Performance Council Release of National Study

Dec 15, 2010, 12:11 ET from National Home Performance Council

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Home Performance Council released a new study that gives an overview of the universe of whole-home energy efficiency retrofit programs in the U.S.

The study reviews provides information on the 126 programs across the U.S. that promote whole home approaches to residential energy efficiency. Among other characteristics, the study found that more than half of the programs offered free energy audits, and slightly more than half offered financing to pay for the cost of an energy efficiency retrofit.

"This is a time of tremendous change and growth for the energy efficiency retrofit industry," said NHPC Managing Director Robin LeBaron. "In five years, the field will look very different than it does now. This study provides a baseline for us to study how the field evolves." NHPC plans to issue a follow-up study in 2011.

An energy-efficiency retrofit can not only improve comfort by tightening leaky homes, but it can also save a homeowner as much as 20% to 40% of the cost of their monthly utility bill. Nationally, homeowners could save $21 billion each year by retrofitting their homes.  "To so many Americans, a house is not just their largest asset, but a place of comfort for their families to grow," said Kara Saul Rinaldi, NHPC Executive Director. "By investing in energy efficiency, homeowners look to improve their asset and their comfort.  Programs that support whole-home retrofits support the American Dream of a comfortable, affordable, safe home."

A whole-home energy efficiency retrofit program provides information and, often, financial support to homeowners who want to carry out renovations in their home that will reduce their energy consumption. Typical retrofit measures include insulation, air sealing, replacement of inefficient heating and cooling systems with high-efficiency models, and similar measures.

State- and utility-based energy efficiency retrofit programs have expanded rapidly over the past two years in response to new funding provided by Federal stimulus programs, and initiatives like the competitive Better Buildings program are deliberately encouraging experimentation and innovation.

"The study takes a very broad view of what a whole-home retrofit is," LeBaron said. "It's helpful to get a broad cross-section what's being done.

The study, entitled Residential Energy Efficiency Retrofit Programs in the U.S.: Financing, Audits and Other Characteristics, is available at www.nhpci.org. Readers are encouraged to contact Robin LeBaron at robin.lebaron@nhpci.org with questions and comments.

The mission of the National Home Performance Council is to encourage implementation of whole-house retrofits for increased home energy performance and to facilitate coordination among federal governmental agencies, utilities, state energy offices, contractors and other relevant participants to achieve improved whole-house energy performance.

SOURCE National Home Performance Council