The Basics of REEP

January 07, 2010
January/February 2010
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2010 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
Click here to read more articles about Codes and Standards
As Congress has worked to address the problems of global warming and rising energy prices, much of the public debate has focused on the pros and cons of cap and trade – a system that would impose national limits on greenhouse gas emissions and allow companies to buy or sell emission credits in an open market. But the landmark climate bill passed by the House of Representatives and a similar bill pending in the Senate also call for a bold federal initiative to improve the efficiency of American homes and businesses.

This Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) legislation has been championed by Efficiency First (www.efficiencyfirst. org), as well as a diverse group of stakeholders from industry, labor and the environmental lobby. If enacted, the REEP legislation will fundamentally alter the business landscape for energy retrofitters, spurring rapid growth in consumer demand and generating long-term construction-related employment opportunities nationwide.

Here is a brief overview of the proposed REEP program, including key provisions that would have a profound impact on the home retrofitting industry.

Legislative Background

▪ A meeting of major stakeholders was convened by the leaders of Efficiency First to develop a policy framework for a performance-based energy efficiency incentive program. Participants included representatives of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Alliance to Save Energy, the Building Performance Institute (BPI), the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), the U.S. Green Building Council and other key groups.
▪ The REEP legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives in March 2009 as a stand-alone bill (H.R. 1778) by Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont.
▪ REEP was then incorporated into the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, a comprehensive energy and climate bill (often referred to as the Waxman- Markey Bill) that passed the House of Representatives in June.
▪ Senators Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts introduced a Senate version of the energy bill, which closely resembles the House version and includes language that would create a national REEP program. This bill must be approved by the Senate and reconciled with the House version before the legislation can be sent to the White House for signature.

What the REEP Program Would Do

▪ The REEP legislation calls on the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and implement a national program that will provide funding and administrative oversight for state-level energy retrofit initiatives. Each state will be authorized to establish a building energy retrofit program to provide incentives and financing for qualified efficiency upgrades based on federal standards.
▪ The REEP program will provide direct incentives that reward building owners for energy efficiency improvements based on a two-track system. A prescriptive track based on a list of eligible measures will provide a $1,000 incentive for measures designed to reduce energy consumption by more than 10 percent, and $2,000 for measures designed to reduce energy consumption by more than 20 percent. A predicted performance track will pay $3,000 for demonstrated energy savings of 20 percent, and $1,000 for every additional 5 percentage points of demonstrated energy savings. Both incentive tracks are capped at 50 percent of retrofit costs.
▪ State energy offices will be required to apply standards for training, contractor certification and post-retrofit inspection as determined by the DOE and the EPA. The final structure of the REEP program will depend on the outcome of the legislative process, of course, but with adequate federal funding bolstered by private sector investment, this legislation could usher in a new era for home energy contractors and create a strong, sustainable market for decades to come. Get involved in supporting the REEP legislation by joining Efficiency First, a national nonprofit trade association that will give you a voice in this process.

Jared Asch is the national director for Efficiency First, a nonprofit trade association that unites home performance contractors, residential energy consultants, building product manufacturers, and other key members of America’s
growing green-collar workforce in the escalating fight against global warming.
Matt Golden is the cofounder and president of Recurve (formerly Sustainable Spaces). Founded
in 2004, the company acts as a full-service resource for homeowners to improve the comfort, health, and efficiency of their home.

>> For more information:
For more on Efficiency First, go to
To follow the REEP legislative process, go to
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