Vermont invests the majority of its CO2 allowance proceeds in programs managed by Efficiency Vermont and the Burlington Electric Department. RGGI funds allow these entities to expand their electrical energy efficiency programs to include thermal energy and process fuel efficiency programs. Efficiency Vermont’s participation in the regional grid’s forward capacity market also provides funds for this program expansion.
Vermont’s thermal energy and process fuel efficiency programs funded by RGGI through 2014 are estimated to result in lifetime energy savings of 2 million mmBTUs. Together with electric efficiency investments, these programs are estimated to avoid the emission of an estimated 138,859 short tons of CO2, and to save participants an estimated $115 million on their energy bills over the lifetime of those investments. Vermont’s RGGI-funded programs have served 4,523 households and 297 businesses.
Programs currently supported by CO2 allowance proceeds include the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® service for residential customers, the Building Performance service providing incentives for efficiency services to small business customers, and low-income energy efficiency provided through the Champlain Valley Community Action Council.
Efficiency Vermont, the nation’s first ratepayer-funded energy efficiency utility, is overseen by the Vermont Public Service Board. Efficiency Vermont’s programs have a proven track record of saving energy and money for commercial, industrial and residential consumers. These and other energy efficiency programs helped to rank Vermont in a tie for third place in the nation in 2014, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
Program Highlight: Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®
The Efficiency Vermont Home Performance with ENERGY STAR service is an incentive-based program for single-family Vermont residences, including properties with fewer than five units, to lower utility bills and increase home comfort and safety by installing insulation, air sealing, ventilation, and heating systems improvements. Vermonters can access comprehensive thermal efficiency retrofits, along with incentives to offset project costs. For eligibility, customers work with participating Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractors. Efficiency Vermont manages this network of participating, Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified contractors, as well as performs quality assurance of the projects. In order to join the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR branch of Efficiency Vermont’s Efficiency Excellence Network, these trade allies must meet qualifications for training and certification—ensuring they have the skills to deliver high-quality efficiency services.
The Efficiency Vermont Home Performance with ENERGY STAR service officially launched in 2005. In 2008, when the Vermont Legislature set a statewide goal to weatherize 80,000 homes by the year 2020, the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR service was galvanized. The legislation sought to harness energy efficiency as a driver of savings for consumers and economic development in Vermont. Home Performance with ENERGY STAR is one of the primary programs contributing to these goals.
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR is a national brand managed by the U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE). Across the United States, there are some 50 organizations that have signed on to sponsor local programs under this overarching brand. Although there are differences among those local programs, they all follow the same basic structure, designed to ensure a comprehensive, whole-house approach to energy efficiency and maximize long-term savings for homeowners. The key components of the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program approach are outlined by U.S. DOE and implemented in Vermont by Efficiency Vermont.