Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) , member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has introduced legislation that would provide financial incentives to homeowners and businesses to reduce their energy use. The bill, “The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP)”, would fund state and municipal governments to provide funding for improving the energy performance of existing buildings. The bill is designed to retrofit millions of homes and commercial buildings and increase efficiency by 20 percent or more nationally.
The proposed legislation would direct the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop guidelines and manage financing for the national energy efficiency program. Homeowners and businesses could qualify for direct cash incentives, interest rate subsidies and credit support based on the percentage increase in energy efficiency they achieve:
- Homeowners could qualify for $1,000-$3,000 in financial incentives for achieving a 10-20 percent increase in efficiency, with another $150 for every additional percentage point of energy savings achieved
- Businesses could qualify for $0.15 per square foot for the first 20 to 30 percent increase in efficiency with an increasing incentive of up to $2.50 per square foot for energy reductions over 50 percent
- Incentives for both homes and commercial buildings would be capped at 50 percent of the cost of the retrofit
Welch stated, “Investing in energy efficiency is a practical, commonsense strategy to create jobs, save on energy costs and do our part to fight climate change.. “Increasing energy efficiency by 20 percent is not only entirely within our power, but it makes perfect sense during tough economic times. It’s high time we bring this successful Vermont model to the national stage.”
Funding for the program would go to the states through the existing State Energy Program formula, which has a built-in small state minimum, and provides additional financial incentives to states with high-performing programs.
The legislation is based upon the proposal developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Alliance to Save Energy and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. The Residential Energy Services Network endorsed this plan as well.
The bill’s 30 original cosponsors include: Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Bruce Braley, Lois Capps, Russ Carnahan, André Carson, Donna Christensen, Steve Cohen, Joe Courtney, Elijah Cummings, Kathy Dahlkemper, William Delahunt, Keith Ellison, Martin Heinrich, Jim Himes, Maurice Hinchey, Mike Honda, Jay Inslee, Steve Israel, Carolyn C. Gilpatrick, Jim Langevin, Carolyn B. Maloney, Eric Massa, George Miller, Patrick J. Murphy, Frank Pallone, Ed Perlmutter, Carol Shea-Porter, Harry Teague, Paul Tonko, and Chris Van Hollen.
To download the legislation click on http://www.resnet.us/hotnews/2009-03-30.htm