2013 Residential Energy Efficiency Awards

By Sanyu Kyeyune We started the Residential Energy Efficiency Awards five years ago to recognize the efforts of those who have successfully leveraged government funds to make U.S. homes healthier, more durable, and more efficient. These are the stories of

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LIHEAP Purchasing Power Continues to Decline

The average grant to a homeowner from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the most comprehensive federal program for helping low-income families pay their energy bills, will cover about 43.4% of the cost of home heating next winter, according to estimates. This number is down from 46% last year and almost 50% during the winter of 2010–11.

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Energy Round Table with Congressmen Paul Tonko and Ben Ray Luján

This spring, we are happy to welcome to the Energy Round Table two former state energy officials, U.S. Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), both of whom joined the House Committee on Energy & Commerce this year. We are excited that a former member of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and a former member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), respectively, have joined the congressional committee responsible for energy policy.

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Obama’s Second-Term Energy Team

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The major energy-related events of President Barack Obama’s first admin¬istration included passage of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus package, an unprecedented federal investment of $831 billion that allocated money for both energy efficiency implementation and renewable energy deployment. And in 2010, the administration responded to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

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The Problem with Yucca Mountain

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No one wants nuclear waste. We all want the energy that comes from splitting a uranium atom, but we don’t want its waste product, and we certainly don’t want it in our backyards. The uncomfortable question of where to put the waste has been plaguing American policy since we figured out how to harness nuclear power.

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ChargePoint Brings First of 80 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations to New York

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In March, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded $3.6 million to 14 organizations, among them ChargePoint, the world’s largest network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. With more than 200 charging points already in New York, ChargePoint will use its $1 million award to install an additional 80 stations throughout the state by the end of September.

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Local Energy Alliance Program

When the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County proposed the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) in 2009, there were no utility-sponsored Home Performance with Energy Star programs in Virginia. LEAP was the state’s first residential energy efficiency program, and its mission was to revitalize communities, create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and encourage whole-house energy retrofits.

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Kentucky Home Performance

In October 2010, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear unveiled a new plan to create jobs by developing the state’s home performance industry. The result was KY Home Performance (KHP), Kentucky’s first statewide residential energy efficiency program.

At the outset, the program’s developers—the Kentucky Housing Corporation and Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence—faced a big hurdle: there were only 10 Building Performance Institute (BPI)-certified contractors in the entire state. So KHP enlisted Conservation Services Group, a nonprofit provider of BPI training, to recruit and train contractors to perform Home Performance with Energy Star jobs. The program required all contractors to take a free webinar or in-person course on energy-efficient installations and loan and rebate processing. KHP further invested in its contractors by providing one-on-one training in the proper use of modeling software for recording energy savings from every retrofit.

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Preservation of Affordable Housing

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Until the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) intervened, Grove Parc Plaza was a run-down stretch of Section 8-assisted housing along Cottage Grove Avenue in Woodlawn on Chicago’s South Side.

The 504-unit complex, one of the most dilapidated in the city, faced foreclosure and demolition. POAH, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to restore at-risk affordable housing, tore down the existing structure and replaced it with Woodlawn Center South (WCS), a new LEED Silver-certified apartment building.

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Keystone HELP

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Pennsylvania’s deputy treasurer, Keith Welks, was looking for a prudent investment for the state treasury, one that would earn money for the state and provide an additional benefit to Pennsylvania homeowners. That search launched the Keystone Home Energy Loan Program (HELP), which has made more than 11,000 loans for residential energy conservation improvements and trained more than 1,600 contractors since 2005.

At the time, AFC First Financial Corporation and West Penn Sustainable Power had been offering unsecured energy efficiency loans to western Pennsylvania homeowners for about 7 years when Welks got the idea to call AFC’s chairman, Peter Krajsa. The state treasury was willing to commit $20 million to expand Krajsa’s program statewide and rename it Keystone HELP.

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