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Study Provides Overview of Home Energy Efficiency Retrofit Programs

The National Home Performance Council (NHPC) has released a new study that gives an overview of whole-home energy efficiency retrofit programs in the United States. The study 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 Robin LeBaron, NHPC managing director. "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 later in 2011.

According to the organization, an energy efficiency retrofit can not only improve comfort by tightening leaky homes, but it can also save a homeowner as much as 20 percent to 40 percent 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."

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.



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