Pulling the Trigger: Increasing Home Energy Savings

This BlueGreen Alliance Apollo Alliance Project, CalCef, UC Berkeley Labor Center report outlines new strategies for uniting public policies and private financing tools to unlock massive home energy savings nationwide.

July 19, 2012

This BlueGreen Alliance Apollo Alliance Project, CalCef, UC Berkeley Labor Center report outlines new strategies for uniting public policies and private financing tools to unlock massive home energy savings nationwide. Using California to demonstrate real-world market opportunities, the recommendations align the state’s energy, housing, and economic recovery agendas to transform the residential energy efficiency (EE) marketplace.

The report recommends a set of government and utility initiatives for integrating energy efficiency (EE) retrofits into key trigger moments when homeowners already act and invest resources, such as the time of sale, time of renovation and at the time of energy rate tier increases. By embedding mandatory energy disclosures, customized financial incentives and system upgrades into these ordinary and revolving events, policymakers can mobilize large-scale residential EE improvements and stimulate the nation’s economic development.

The report identified four categories of actions — disclose, enforce, incentivize, and finance — to be implemented at each trigger event. Recommendations include:

  • Disclose the energy costs and efficiency of a home at the time of sale and standardize an energy feature list for all the Multiple Listing Services (MLS).
  • Re-target and customize existing EE incentive programs and funding to better serve homeowners at each trigger point.
  • Enforce stricter standards and permitting requirements to qualify access to incentives for energy upgrades.
  • Broaden the distribution of utilities’ tier-alert notifications to all ratepayers and include warnings on the long-term costs of high-tier rates, offering consumers that remain in upper energy rate tiers an EE upgrade – and funds from averted costs — to reduce consumption.
  • Develop modifications to existing mortgage financing, refinancing and home equity products that incentivize and incorporate EE.

Greater efficiency will reduce and stabilize home energy expenses, reducing household indebtedness and protecting the homeowner’s ability to make mortgage payments.

Download The Document