Top Issues: Energy Efficiency
BACKGROUND: The federal government, along with many states and utilities, has offered individuals and homeowners incentives to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Whether it’s through a tax credit/deduction, or a rebate check, the public’s interest is to see reduced energy consumption. However, prescriptive-based incentives are losing favor with policymakers because most systems are not properly installed. The EPA estimates that half of all HVAC systems are not installed according manufacturer requirements causing those systems to consume 30-40 percent more energy than they were estimated to consume in laboratory settings.
To address the improper installation issue, the EPA created a quality contractor accreditation program, the ENERGY STAR Verified Installation Program (VIP). ACCA is one of two organizations tasked with accredding VIP contractors. Contractors enrolled in the ACCA VIP can offer consumers a certificate recognizing their system was installed according to ACCA’s quality installation protocols. The ENERGY STAR program has not been adequately funded so consumers have not been made aware of this program, which is intended to transform the market from equipment focused efficiencies to focusing on quality installation programs.
SOLUTION: ACCA supports robust funding for EPA’s Verified Installation Program allowing EPA to promote the benefits of quality installation practices to consumers.
SOLUTION: ACCA supports coupling quality installation requirements with incentives that encourage consumers to purchase ENERGY STAR systems.
SOLUTION: ACCA supports using grants from the Department of Energy to encourage consumers to undertake proper HVAC installations.
SOLUTION: ACCA supports market transformation programs that promote the value of hiring professional contractors who ensure that efficiency incentives have an impact on energy consumption.
SOLUTION: ACCA supports and helped to secure the introduction of the bipartisan HOPE for HOMES Act—H.R. 7324 and S. 4052—which proposes grants to support online training of residential contractors and would provide $6 billion in grants for homeowners to make residential energy efficiency upgrades, which includes HVACR systems.