Delaware directs the majority of the RGGI proceeds to energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) is a unique non-profit organization that offers a one-stop resource for energy efficiency and clean energy for Delawareans, Delaware businesses and non-profits. The SEU programs are focused on helping Delawareans save money, create jobs and improve the environment.
In 2014, the SEU restarted their Home Performance with Energy Star Program. Home Performance with Energy Star is a whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency and comfort in Delawareans’ homes. Home Performance with Energy Star allows homeowners to have a whole-home energy audit with a certified contractor. Homeowners are able to take action on the recommended energy saving improvements and rebates offered by the SEU. Homeowners are also given an energy-savings package that includes light bulbs, shower heads, faucet aerators, pipe insulation and smart power strips. In 2014, over 350 Delaware households took advantage of this program. And SEU programs are not only focused on homes: in 2014 the SEU partnered with the Delaware Valley Green Building Council to reduce energy costs and promote sustainability initiatives in Delaware schools (see Program Highlight).
RGGI proceeds were also used to develop and implement climate change policy for the State of Delaware. In 2014, eleven state agencies and departments worked together to develop greenhouse gas reduction strategies, adaptation strategies, and guidance recommendations related to sea level rise and flooding under Executive Order 41. The State of Delaware adopted a greenhouse gas reduction strategy that includes a target of 30% greenhouse gas emissions reductions from a 2008 baseline by 2030, along with specific strategies to achieve the target. Delaware adopted 150 agency-specific actionable climate change adaptation recommendations for improving Delaware’s preparedness and resilience to climate impacts. Flood avoidance strategies and design guidance were developed to reduce current and future flood risks to new and existing structures and infrastructure.
RGGI funds also support the Delaware low-income weatherization program, and provide heating bill assistance to low-come Delawareans. Delaware has invested approximately 15 percent of its cumulative-to-date investments in low-income home weatherization and low-income heating assistance, implemented by the Delaware Division of Energy and Climate housed in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).
Program Highlight: Pathways to Green Schools
In 2014, the SEU along with the Delaware Valley Green Building Council launched the Delaware Pathway to Green Schools Program. This program aimed to reduce environmental impacts and costs, improve health and wellness, and provide effective environmental education in Delaware schools. Eight schools were selected to participate in the program. Each school received a free building assessment and energy audit, assistance with using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Program, and technical assistance throughout the year. Each school that completed the program received $1,000 and one school received $10,000. The schools that participated in the program created recycling programs, community and school gardens, tracked and monitored their energy usage, and implemented recommendations in their energy audits.