American Prosperity is Linked to Energy Efficiency

September 03, 2009
September/October 2009
A version of this article appears in the September/October 2009 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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 Residential buildings represent 22% of overall U.S. energy use (2008 Buildings Energy Databook). Many states are planning to use the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to improve residential energy efficiency. ARRA will stimulate a variety of unprecedented activities across the country that will support home performance contracting and encourage consumer demand for home energy improvements.  Now is an ideal time to get into the home performance contracting /energy efficiency home improvement business.

California, Kentucky, and Florida are examples of states planning to implement or support a residential retrofit program such as Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES) using ARRA resources. These and other programs include:
  • launching a statewide program such as HPwES or supporting utility-sponsored HPwES and similar programs;
  • developing solicitations for proposals from local governments which support energy improvements;
  • providing combinations of incentives such as rebates and loan programs; and
  • implementing educational outreach to homeowners and contractor training programs.
“When it comes to saving money and growing our economy, energy efficiency isn’t just low hanging fruit; it is fruit lying on the ground. The most prosperous, competitive economies of the 21st century will be those that use energy efficiently. It’s time for America to lead the way.”

—Secretary Steven Chu, U.S. Department of Energy, June
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE’s) Building Technologies Program (BTP) has released solicitations seeking innovative solutions to increase the number of home energy retrofits in U.S. communities and accelerate BTP’s research goals towards achieving net-zero energy homes. (See more information below on the DOE BTP Funding Opportunity Announcement).

The Home Performance Contractor’s Business Development Guide offers extensive insight, revealing why now is a terrific time to consider adding home performance contracting to your business. This Business Development Guide shows the value of adding home performance contracting to your business model and there is no better time to capture that business than now.

Ed Pollock is the leader of the Residential Team in the Building Technologies Program at the DOE. Patricia Plympton is an associate director at Navigant Consulting, Incorporated, and provides support to the DOE Building Technologies Program.

For more information:
ARRA activities that support energy retrofits – or
State Energy Programs –,,
U.S. DOE’s Building Technologies Program –
FedConnect -
Funding Opportunity Announcement  (No. DE-FOA-0000099, Recovery Act: Building America Energy Efficient Housing Partnerships).

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