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What the DOE Home Efficiency Rebate Program Means for Home Performance Contractors

What the DOE Home Efficiency Rebate Program Means for Home Performance Contractors

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) allocates nearly $9 billion for electrification retrofits and home efficiency rebate funding for 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.

DOE Home Efficiency Rebate Program Overview

The Home Efficiency Rebate Program, also referred to as the Home Energy Performance-Based, Whole House Rebate 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 is the timeline and process for funding?

Over the next 10 years, $4.3 billion in formula grants through this program will flow from the Department of Energy (DOE) to state energy offices, which will then be disbursed to homeowners and contractors across the nation.

State energy offices are responsible for applying for funding and designing their own programs to deliver funding to contractors and homeowners. While home energy rebate program funding is not yet available, DOE is expected to provide states with guidelines in summer 2023 around setting up their own programs.

Each state will receive a pre-determined amount of funding based on a formula. To help states prepare to administer this funding, DOE made a small portion of their Home Efficiency Rebate Program funding amount available to state energy offices in early 2023. States can use these early funds to cover administrative costs associated with staffing up, planning their program design and strategy, conducting workforce analyses, and reaching out to consumers.

To see how much Home Efficiency Rebate Program funds will be available for each state, check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.

How long are Home Efficiency Rebate funds available? 

Congress has made these funds available until September of 2031.

Earn more as you save:

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

Low- and moderate-income (LMI) homeowners (making less than 80% of their area median income) are eligible for between $4,000-$8,000 in rebates for whole-home weatherization upgrades, whereas all other homeowners are eligible for between $2,000-$4,000 in rebates. 

Contractors providing retrofits under the Home Efficiency Rebate 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 Home Efficiency Program upgrades to prepare themselves by getting trained and certified to perform this work before Home Efficiency Program funding becomes available.

Get started with BPI Training today so you’ll be ready for the surge in demand for energy audits coming later this year.

Are multifamily building owners eligible for Home Efficiency Rebate Program 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 Home Efficiency Rebate Program funding be combined with other programs?

The Inflation Reduction Act prohibits combining Home Efficiency Program rebates with any other federal grant or rebate for the same upgrade in a single household. This includes DOE’s complementary $4.5B Home Electrification rebate program, which was also established under the Inflation Reduction Act.

However, the IRA does not prohibit combining Home Efficiency Program rebates with state and/or utility rebate programs, or with Energy Efficiency Tax Credits (like Internal Revenue Code Section 25C).

Meeting the demand for skilled workers

Once made available to homeowners, this unprecedented amount of funding for home energy retrofits will stimulate demand for residential contractors, home energy auditors, HVAC and water heater technicians, and other home performance contractors.  

The Home Efficiency 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 Home Efficiency Rebate 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. For those who prefer hands-on training, we provide equipment-based training at our weatherization training center locations nationwide.

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 Lesley Baulding

Lesley has been passionately advocating for and working with green building and renewable energy since 2009. She has experience with LEED certification, home energy auditing, blower door testing, solar energy, and more. She holds many certifications, including LEED Green Associate and NABCEP Certification. Her work has won numerous awards over the past decade.