HOMES Act Introduced In House

On May 23, Representatives Dave McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-Verm.) introduced the Home Owner Managing Energy Savings Act of 2013 (HOMES) that would authorize a significant new federal incentive for making energy efficient retrofit improvements to existing single family and some multifamily dwellings.

The legislation specifically endorses contractors accredited by ACCA’s Quality Assurance programs as eligible to perform the qualified retrofit jobs.

The HOMES Act would create the Home Energy Saving Retrofit Rebate Program to provide a rebate to homeowners who make qualified improvement to their homes based on the resulting energy savings. Improvements that result in at least 20 percent energy savings would earn a $2,000 rebate. For every 5 percent in additional energy savings, the homeowner can receive another $1,000 – up to a total of $8,000 or 50 percent of the project’s cost. A variety of improvements are eligible under the HOMES Act, including qualified HVAC appliances, doors, windows, insulation, or other home improvements to lower energy costs.

In order to ensure the rebate dollars are used wisely, contractors who perform work eligible for the rebate program must be accredited by ACCA as a QA Home Performance Contractor, RESNET as an Energy Smart Home Performance Team, or accredited through the Building Performance Institute (BPI). They must also employ technicians certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE), ACCA, RESNET, BPI, the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), or a regional weatherization program; and they must carry at least $1 million in general liability insurance, and abide by all manufacturers installation requirements.

“ACCA applauds the efforts of Representatives McKinley and Welch in introducing this legislation,” said Paul T. Stalknecht, ACCA president and CEO. “This rebate program will help create jobs, save energy, improve indoor air quality, and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”

The Home Energy Saving Retrofit Rebate Program would require a home energy audit to precede any retrofit work. The audit would set the energy use baseline and present the opportunity to consider all possible retrofit options. Once the retrofit work is completed and verified, rebates would be awarded based on modeled energy savings. The program has a rigorous quality assurance component. The first ten retrofit jobs performed by a qualified contractor under the program are verified, with 60% of jobs verified thereafter.

“More and more Americans are realizing that energy efficient retrofits financed or incentivized with public funds must be done right,” continues Stalknecht. “The HVAC equipment, the largest energy user in any household, must be sized properly and installed correctly in order achieve the intended results. Contractors accredited through the ACCA Quality Assurance program can help homeowners find greater energy savings with new, high efficiency HVAC equipment that eventually save enough money to pay for themselves.”

The legislation would authorize $500,000,000 to be allocated annually in fiscal years 2014-2017. Rebates would be paid directly to the homeowner through a rebate aggregator and after quality assurance checks are made.

The HOMES Act was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.


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