Posts Tagged energy audit

Obama Administration Boosts Retrofits : Biden Announces Fed Program

Am I calling it or what?  As reported by Martin LaMonica on CNET and the Steven Thomma of the Miami Herald Vice President Joe Biden with US Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday unveiled a new federal program to make it easier for Americans to make their homes more energy efficient, saying it will help people save money and create new jobs for contractors.

Excerpts for the release below:

DOE today also released the Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades, a comprehensive set of guidelines for workers in the residential energy efficiency industry. The guidelines will help develop and expand the skills of the workforce, ensuring the quality of the work performed, while laying the foundation for a more robust worker certification and training program nationwide.  Vice President Biden made the announcements today at a Middle Class Task Force event, highlighting the progress that has been made on implementing the recommendations of last year’s Recovery through Retrofit report.
“The initiatives announced today are putting the Recovery Through Retrofit report’s recommendations into action – giving American families the tools they need to invest in home energy upgrades.” said Vice President Biden. “Together, these programs will grow the home retrofit industry and help middle class families save money and energy.”

“The Home Energy Score will help make energy efficiency easy and accessible to America’s families by providing them with straightforward and reliable information about their homes’ energy performance and specific, cost-effective energy efficiency improvements that will save them money on their monthly energy bills,” said Secretary Chu.

Under this voluntary program, trained and certified contractors will use a standardized assessment tool developed by DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to quickly evaluate a home and generate useful, actionable information for homeowners or prospective homebuyers.  With only about 40 inputs required, the Home Energy Scoring Tool lets a contractor evaluate a home’s energy assets, like its heating and cooling systems, insulation levels and more, in generally less than an hour.  That means a homeowner can see how their home’s systems score, regardless of whether a particular homeowner takes long or short showers or keeps their thermostat set high or low.

The following states and municipalities are participating in the pilot program: Charlottesville, Virginia; Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; Minnesota; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Indiana; Portland, Oregon; South Carolina; Texas; and Eagle County, Colorado.  Learn more about each of the testing locations along with details on how to participate in the Home Energy Score program.

Consumers can apply for up to $25,000 in PowerSaver loans through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which expects that 24,000 homes will qualify during a two-year pilot program, according to USA Today.

This home energy retrofit program follows a $5 billion weatherization investment that was part of the stimulus package last year. Another effort is Home Star, nicknamed Cash for Caulkers, which would provide rebates to consumers for investing in energy efficiency retrofits.

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How does this effect BIM users/developers, etc.?

Commercial deployment will be huge and has more robust documentation and reporting needs, plus these firms getting into it will need to have better tools, etc as the race begins to fill these needs and to differentiate themselves from competition, imagine a 3D BIM model with all the reporting built into it.  I have to imagine the plug ins are already under development. Additionally, did you notice the certification needs recommended for this.  Strap it on, let’s get back to work.


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Energy Audit Army is Well Funded and on the March : Firms Starting and Accelerating like a 16 year Old with Porsche

No sooner had I posted on Green BIM, and also flogging the sustainable retrofit business model, that friends and colleagues start bringing up firms specializing in energy audits.  Most of these firms combine the audits with consulting to provide sustainability options i.e. savings through energy efficiency.  The more you dig you’ll see that energy audits are becoming common place and even mandatory in places.  The Green Energy Act passed in Ontario, Canada mandates a seller preform and energy audit on their home.  The city Austin now mandates it.  You get the picture, regardless if you think it is a good practice, it is also being legislated into existence.  Not only that there are rebates and tax credits available for implementing retrofits.  Good business. So let me again hammer this home in bullet point format:

  • Mandated in select areas but growing
  • Audit Funded by Stimulus and Grants
  • Retrofits Paid for by Tax Rebates
  • Give me one or a dozen at that price.

    Recurve, ” a San Francisco-based provider of software and services for the home performance industry, today announced that it has secured an $8 million Series B round of financing. New investor Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) joins existing investors RockPort Capital Partners and Shasta Ventures in the financing.”  Provides not only the energy audit and recommendations and not wanting to share much pie can do the retrofits themselves as well.

    Neststepliving, a Needham, MA announced this summer a  “$2.6 million first close of their Series B financing round.  The financing was led by local green entrepreneur John McQuillan, President & CEO of Triumvirate Environmental, who was joined by other new investors and returning Series A investors including Black Coral Capital and the Clean Energy Venture Group.”

    And these are companies that people just mentioned to me in the last couple of days and as stated on the NextStepLiving website, Most Massachsuetts Homeowners are eligible for free home energy assessment and generous weatherization rebates up to 85% of the cost of the work.   Regardless of who’s picking up the tab and maybe it’s just a lead generation tool, but free?  Can’t lower the hurdle any more than that, and then coupled with rebates to do the work, well, get on that train.

    Retroficiency , based here in Boston , “provides energy audit and energy management software and services.”

    Appogee Interactive, Enercom , and Microsoft’s HOHM Beta, are all providing tools for analyzing your home.  Why?  It leads to business, or as my dad always says, “follow the money”.  And the smart money is in sustainable retrofits and energy audits.


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