Connecticut Homeowners Reaping Rewards by Linking Energy Efficiency Improvements to their Solar Installations with the Home Energy Score

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by
Joan Glickman
on
Oct 11, 2017

In 2015, the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF) partnered with the Energy Department to offer the Energy Department’s Home Energy Score through the state’s primary utilities: Eversource Energy and United Illuminating, a subsidiary of Avangrid, Inc. The state is a champion of the Home Energy Score’s simple, consistent method for estimating and explaining a home’s energy performance and easy-to-understand 10-point rating system. Since the program launched in 2015, CEEF has issued more than 24,000 Home Energy Scores – making it the leading Home Energy Score partner in numbers of homes scored.

The state is also a leader in green energy financing. In 2011, Connecticut established the Connecticut Green Bank, the nation’s first green bank, to leverage funds and attract private dollars to offer financing that spurs investment in clean energy projects across the state. With the Green Bank, Connecticut homeowners and businesses alike can readily invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements.  By its five year anniversary in 2016, the Green Bank had mobilized over $1 billion of investments, achieved a 10:1 leverage ratio of private to public dollars invested, created nearly 13,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs, reduced the energy burden on over 20,000 households and businesses, deployed over 200 MW of renewable energy, and will have reduced over 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the life of the projects.

As of September 2017, the Green Bank approved incentives for over 25,000 residential solar photovoltaic (PV) projects through its Residential Solar Investment Program.  The program requires an energy efficiency assessment to be performed for every solar PV project that encourages efficiency improvements when a homeowner is installing solar energy. The majority of homeowners satisfy this requirement with the utility administered Home Energy Solutions program which includes the Home Energy Score to provide a rating of a home’s energy efficiency.

Building industry contractors benefit from the energy audit because they have an opportunity to educate homeowners – who may have previously only been interested in solar – on energy efficiency. The Energy Store, an energy efficiency contractor in Connecticut, has achieved a significant conversion rate to completed energy efficiency jobs with the Home Energy Score, helping the contractor significantly grow its business. Now having scored more than 3,000 homes, the Energy Store partners closely with a leading solar company to meet the energy assessment requirement and encourage adoption of both solar PV and energy efficiency measures.  

Nutmeggers can now enjoy the best of all worlds.  With the efficiency assessment, homeowners are well positioned to make an informed decision on how to approach the overall energy performance of their homes. With the Green Bank’s and utilities’ attractive financing options, customers have the means to invest in both energy efficiency and renewables. With an improved Home Energy Score that reflects both the efficiency and solar investments and efforts to integrate this information into real estate multiple listing services, homeowners can get credit for these smart investments when they’re ready to sell.