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What the HOMES Rebate Program Means for Home Performance Contractors

What the HOMES Rebate Program Means for Home Performance Contractors

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) allocates nearly $9 billion in federal funding to support residential energy efficiency and electrification through rebates paid for home energy upgrades, including in single-family and multifamily properties. Signed into law by President Biden in August 2022, it is a historic investment that will help homeowners save on their energy bills, reduce their carbon footprint, and will also generate an enormous demand for skilled home performance contractors.

HOMES Rebate Program Overview

The Home Owner Managing Energy Savings, or “HOMES” program, provides $4.3 billion to states to help residents make their entire home more energy efficient. This not only includes upgrading appliances like HVAC units and water heaters but also weatherization measures like installing energy-efficient windows, adding insulation, and sealing air ducts.

What will the funding process look like?

Over the next 10 years, $4.3 billion in HOMES rebate program funding will flow from the Department of Energy (DOE) to state energy offices, which will then be disbursed to homes and contractors across the nation.

While the rebate funding is not yet available, DOE will provide more detail on how states can apply for funding as well as guidelines for the rebate program in early 2023.

State energy offices are responsible for formally applying for funding through DOE, as well as designing their own program to deliver funding to contractors and homeowners.

To see how much HOMES rebate program funds will be available for each state, check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.

Earn more as you save:

The HOMES Program is a performance-based incentive program — meaning it gives cash to residents based on the amount of energy their upgraded home saves.

For example, homeowners who install upgrades that cut their energy consumption by 35% or more can be reimbursed up to 50% of the project cost or $4,000 (whichever is less).

Additionally, low-income households making less than 80% of their area median income are eligible to be compensated for up to $8,000 or 80% of project costs (whichever is less).

Contractors providing retrofits under the HOMES program can also claim a $200 rebate per low-income home they service.

These types of performance-based incentives help ensure high-quality installations by holding contractors and installers accountable for their work. Implementing these home energy efficiency retrofits successfully will require contractors, installers, and others involved in HOMES program upgrades to prepare themselves by receiving the training and certifications they need to perform this work before HOMES program funding becomes available.

Get started with BPI Training today so you’ll be ready for the surge in energy efficiency audits when they come.

Are multifamily building owners eligible for HOMES funding?

Yes, multi-family building owners will also be eligible for up to $8,000 per unit for qualifying energy efficiency upgrades. Multi-family buildings located in low-moderate income communities will qualify for higher incentive levels.

Can HOMES funding be combined with other programs?

The Inflation Reduction Act does not allow homeowners to combine HOMES rebates with any other Federal grant or rebate – including the new High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program under the Inflation Reduction Act.

However, the IRA does not prohibit combining HOMES rebates with state and/or utility rebate programs, or with federal tax credits like 25C (Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit).

Meeting the demand for skilled workers

Once made available to homeowners, the unprecedented amount of federal funding for home energy rebates will stimulate demand for residential contractors, home energy auditors, HVAC and water heater technicians, home inspectors, and other tradespeople involved in energy efficiency retrofits.

The HOMES program will create thousands of jobs in an industry that has already been rapidly growing. In fact, according to the 2022 U.S. Energy and Employment Report released by the Department of Energy (DOE), the Energy Efficiency sector employed 2,164,914 people in 2021 – an increase of 57,741 jobs, up 2.7%, from 2020 to 2021. DOE expects energy efficiency jobs to continue increasing by nearly 2% per year.

how homes rebate program will drive energy efficiency employment

Source: United States Energy and Employment Report 2022

Federal programs, like the HOMES Program, will spur thousands of new jobs, providing an excellent opportunity for current home performance contractors and job seekers alike. However, this opportunity also highlights the urgent need to train and certify contractors involved in home energy efficiency upgrades today to ensure that they are ready to help homeowners lower their energy bill tomorrow.

What you can do now to prepare for this opportunity

Whether you are new to the energy efficiency sector, an experienced contractor seeking training in a new field, or a home performance business owner interested in improving your employees’ skills, Everblue is poised to help meet the demand for contractor training and certification created by the Inflation Reduction Act.

Everblue has comprehensive hands-on training and education across a wide range of energy efficiency-related disciplines. We also offer flexible online course options that cater to people with different knowledge levels and experience.

Our instructors are all experienced Building Performance Institute (BPI)-certified professionals, and we’ve been a proud BPI Test Center partner for over a decade.

For those just entering the home performance field, our hands-on training will help you gain a better understanding of how homes function. During our BPI courses, we’ll take you to a real house to use real tools and gain real exposure to energy efficiency issues. Our online resources include detailed curriculum videos that are available 24/7, math primer videos, and field training videos.

Get started by learning more about our BPI Training courses!

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About Jason Pazirandeh

Jason is a project manager supporting multiple energy efficiency programs on behalf of the largest public utility in the United States - the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). He is also currently designing TVA's strategy for pursuing Inflation Reduction Act funds - specifically the HOMES program, the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program, and the $200M Contractor Training Program.