In this issue:


A Letter to our HPwES Stakeholders

Dear Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Sponsors and Stakeholders,

School buses are back, traffic is heavier and schedules are fuller. The dog days of summer seem to be over but what a summer it has been! Let's recap.

The draft HPwES v1.5 Sponsor Guide and Reference Manual (v1.5) was released for public comment and the HPwES Team is in the process of reviewing comments and revising the document. The BPI HPXML Standard was recently published. ACCA's QH-12 Energy Audit Standard is out for public comment until Sept 30. The National Association of Home Builder's Remodeling Market Index indicates remodeler confidence is rising, especially among owner-occupied existing homes; Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies' Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity indicates spending on home improvements is increasing and is projected to increase into 2014.

The fall and spring promise to bring more exciting activities and announcements. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will present its inaugural Housing Innovation Awards at the Solar Decathlon, setting the stage to nationally recognize the top innovations in home building and home performance. We plan to continue to share innovation stories focused on the existing homes market and how it can help achieve greater levels of efficiency both in energy use of homes and in delivering home performance services. Our team is planning an HPwES Symposium at ACI's 2014 National Home Performance Conference. The HPwES Program will soon hit another milestone—300,000 projects completed since 2001—and HPwES is expanding to new states.

I am excited to see the home performance industry buzzing with activity and progress in markets across the nation. Regional collaboratives, such as those spearheaded in Illinois, Missouri, California and Arizona, are making progress in coordinating home performance related activities and the national Program expects to see a significant increase in production from these states as a result. There is talk of new policies and regulations in Mississippi and Louisiana that will support home performance activities; new funding strategies and resources in New York and Kentucky; and movement on the greening of the MLS.

We have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the prospects of HPwES for the remainder of 2013 and into 2014. I look forward to our continued success!

Ely Jacobsohn
U.S. Department of Energy
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program Manager

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HPwES Welcomes New Sponsors Red River Valley Community Action and Nexus Energy

The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program is excited to welcome Red River Valley Community Action and Nexus Energy to its network of local program Sponsors and be on the map in two new states—North Dakota and Alabama.

Red River Valley Community Action's (RRVCA) goals for the HPwES program are to motivate residential energy customers in the Grand Forks Region to use a comprehensive, whole-house approach when considering home improvements, as well as begin a permanent market transformation by developing trained and certified home performance contractors. RRVCA brings decades of experience performing comprehensive home weatherization projects. On joining the HPwES Program, RRCVA Program Manager Jason Schaefer says, "We are keen to become a Program Sponsor of HPwES due to its excellent track record, commitment to a whole-house approach, and focus on quality assurance."

The AlabamaWise HPwES program, administered by Nexus Energy, will be initially offered to homeowners in Huntsville and Birmingham but there are plans to eventually serve the entire state. The program's goal is to drive demand for comprehensive energy assessments and whole-home energy efficiency upgrades. Nexus Energy Program Manager Daniel Tait says "We joined because ENERGY STAR is a very known and well respected brand. And for good reason! They provide an easy to understand mark of approval for energy efficiency."

Welcome to the HPwES family, RRCVA and AlabamaWise! We wish you great success.

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HPwES' Year in Review: 2012 Data Analysis

On Thursday, Aug. 1, the HPwES Team hosted a webinar to review 2012 Annual Reports. 44 Sponsors (88% response rate) responded to the call for data and a summary of the findings are listed below. The Annual Report presentation and webinar recording are available online.

  • The majority of Sponsors' 2013 budgets are comparable to their 2012 budgets; Sponsors with increased budgets tended to diversify the funding sources. 77% of respondents indicated their programs rely on rate-payer surcharges as a source of funding and in some cases it is the only source of funding.
  • 24 Sponsors reported HPwES implementation budgets of less than $1 million. On average, these Sponsors completed 170 projects and realized 10 MMBtu's per project. 530 is the maximum number of projects reported by a Sponsor with a budget less than $1 million.
  • Collectively, 40 HPwES Sponsors spent more than $210 million to implement HPwES programs. On average, 70% of program budgets are allocated to homeowner incentives and 5% of budgets are allocated to contractor incentives.
  • The cost and energy savings per project greatly varied among respondents. The weighted average of cost per project to Sponsors (i.e. administrative costs, homeowner and contractor incentives) is $3,000. The weighted average of energy saved per project across all fuel types is 20 MMBtus. Programs that offer project-based rebates and financing tend to seek deeper energy savings per project.
  • Century Club Awards were more prevalent in programs that offered cooperative advertising opportunities and subsidized equipment. The HPwES contractor network includes more than 2,000 participating contractors, however only 530 reported projects in 2012. 99 participating contractors won Century Club Awards in 2012.
The 2012 Annual Reports provided valuable information, however the HPwES Team is cautious to draw concrete conclusions because questions were interpreted differently and used different calculation methodologies.

In January 2014, Sponsors will receive requests to submit program data for 2013.The HPwES Team will build on lessons learned from the previous data call and analysis to improve collection mechanisms.

Please contact homeperformance@energystar.gov with your feedback or ideas for future data analysis.

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Participating Contractors to be Recognized at DOE's Housing Innovation Awards

The HPwES Team is excited to present U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Housing Innovation Awards (HIA) to several participating contractors at the 2013 HIA ceremony, Friday, Oct. 4, in Irvine, Calif. The award recognizes exceptional HPwES participating contractors for their advancements in delivering energy efficiency to existing homes in the following categories:

  • High Energy Savings
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer Relations
  • Market Leadership
2013 is the inaugural year for the HIA, an initiative lead by DOE to recognize the very best in innovation on the path to zero net-energy ready homes. The award ceremony will be hosted during the 2013 Solar Decathlon and XPO. The HPwES winning contractors will be announced at the awards ceremony.

Stay tuned to learn more about the HPwES winners!

Learn more.

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DOE's Award Winning Collegiate Competition Spurs Designs of Creative and Affordable Energy Efficient Housing

author photo College students from the around the world are preparing to travel to Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif., to compete in DOE's biennial competition, the Solar Decathlon. The Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.

The Solar Decathlon educates students and the public about the money-saving opportunities and environmental benefits presented by clean-energy products and design solutions; demonstrates to the public the comfort and affordability of homes that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems available today; and provides participating students with unique training that prepares them to enter our nation's clean-energy workforce. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

Hosted alongside the Solar Decathlon will be the XPO, a clean, renewable, and efficient energy exposition. Through fun, interactive exhibits and activities, the XPO will provide visitors with information about the broad spectrum of energy efficiency options in home design, transportation, consumer products, food production, and education. Together, Solar Decathlon 2013 and the XPO will create a unique and powerful showcase for technology, education, products, arts, and business opportunities related to clean and renewable energy generation and efficient energy use.

The events are free to attend. The competition houses and XPO will be open to the public Thursday, Oct. 3 through Sunday, Oct. 6, and Thursday, Oct. 10 through Sunday, Oct. 13, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Make plans to visit today!

Learn more.

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BPI's Home Performance-Related Data Standards Published

The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) released its BPI-2100-S-2013: Standard for Home Performance-Related Data Transfer (also known as Home Performance XML or HPXML) and BPI-2200-S-2013: Standard for Home Performance-Related Data Collection for publishing as BPI standards.

The HPXML standard provides requirements for a standard data transfer protocol that can be used to transfer home performance-related data between parties involved in a home performance program. BPI-2200-S-2013: Standard for Home Performance-Related Data Collection is designed to facilitate the exchange of information and data among all actors in the home performance industry by providing a standard vocabulary for describing terms related to buildings, energy consumption, and energy conservation measures. Each of the data elements defined in BPI-2200 can be transferred via HPXML. Sponsors who are participating in a beta test of the standard—NYSERDA (New York), APS (Arizona) and LEAP (Virginia)—have already committed to using HPXML for transferring information from contractors to the associated Sponsor.

The concept of a data standard that defines a common language has a number of potential benefits for HPwES stakeholders. The HPXML protocol allows Sponsors and participating contractors using a variety of data collection and modeling tools to communicate with each other and data collection may be used for a variety of purposes. For example, data entered for building modeling may be used by the utility for energy savings calculations reducing the collection of redundant information or massaging data to fit another purpose. The ultimate goal is to facilitate more accurate data collection and transfer that is fast and cost-effective. The HPwES Team is evaluating whether HPXML should be a required component for program delivery in HPwES v2.0.

Learn more.

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Guest Author Feature: The Home Performance Guild of Oregon

author photoAs part of a guest author feature for the HPwES e-newsletter, Don MacOdrum, executive director of the Home Performance Guild of Oregon, is contributing a series of articles spotlighting the Guild—its founding, model, mission and plans to transform the local home performance industry.

Hello again, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR community. As promised, I am back to wrap up my introduction to the Home Performance Guild of Oregon (Guild). As a trade association, the Guild is first and foremost a collaboration facilitator. Our success is due to the diversity of dedicated industry stakeholders who see opportunity in one another. While our thoroughly supportive local HPwES programs, Energy Trust of Oregon and Clean Energy Works, are first-in-line to take advantage of our organizing, communication and leadership abilities, they are not alone. We are fortunate local manufacturers, suppliers, banks, software providers, trainers and insurance providers see value in the Guild's services and work with us to identify mutually beneficial initiatives that support our contractors while growing their businesses.

As I sat down to write this article, I listed all of the efforts we've jointly deployed with our sponsors and partners. I quickly approached 1,000 words but had only scratched the surface. So instead of sharing every initiative, I'll highlight initiatives with health care brokers, suppliers and lenders.

We partnered with Montgomery & Graham (M&G), a local health care broker to establish a health care association plan for Guild members to provide a lower cost option to members providing health care benefits to their employees. We selected M&G after intensive interviews with several leading brokers in the Portland area. While we were highly successful in achieving our initial goal of having a significant number of members sign up with M&G, the prospects and development of a new health care association plan changed once it became clear that national health care reform legislation would pass. However, our work with M&G was still profitable because of a signed marketing agreement. We also gained a health care expert who keeps our members informed about upcoming changes due to health care reform and the arrival of Oregon's health care exchange. The Guild has since formed a similar relationship with Ross & Associates, an insurance broker for property, casualty and workers compensation.

Last year, after the Energy Trust of Oregon identified ENERGY STAR qualified water heaters as preferred products, the Guild allied with the Oregon Air Conditioning Contractors Association to negotiate special time-limited member discounts with Gensco, a leading distributor of HVAC equipment and supplies in the northwest. We facilitated a lunch and learn to help promote the offer. As a collaborative group, we made Guild members aware of product savings and solidified the Guild's role as a productive facilitator of mutually interested parties.

In an effort to promote residential energy efficiency lending, the Guild partnered with Umpqua Bank, an Energy Trust of Oregon Lending Ally, and the first bank to join Clean Energy Works Oregon on a state-wide basis. Together we developed a series of customer engagement events at Umpqua branches. Guild staff conducted presentations on home performance, a branch representative promoted Umpqua energy efficiency loan products, and a home performance (HP) contractor was on hand to answer technical questions. It is a perfect example of the kind of initiatives that are possible when industry partners understand each other's capabilities and are willing to try new approaches for engaging customers.

Another project the Guild took on to engage customers was the creation of its Lead Generation Committee. In 2012, the Guild Board realized there was no one in the industry who purposefully and aggressively promotes the concept of HPwES to consumers. Beyond the HPwES mark, programs and contractors in the state used different messages to promote home performance that just left customers confused. Homeowners did not understand the whole-house or house as a system approaches. The Lead Generation Committee not only generates leads for the contractors, but also uses consistent messaging with homeowners to increase understanding of the value of HP. The Lead Generation Committee created a new logo, tagline and website along with an original Code of Ethics to establish a comprehensive framework to sell the value, benefits and services inherent in HPwES programs. Since completing the framework and basic infrastructure, the Lead Generation Committee has developed strategies, materials and relationships to market HP; completed a webpage to process customer leads for participating HP contractors; piloted direct mail marketing initiatives; operated booths at street and county fairs to both generate leads and conduct market research; and, co-founded a HP marketing consortium with our HPwES programs to align our marketing messages and campaigns.

All in all, we are doing pretty well with HPwES out here in Oregon. Energy Trust of Oregon continues to be a national HPwES leader. Clean Energy Works, our statewide ARRA funded HPwES program, was recently allocated state funding to allow to transition ARRA to a self-sufficient funding model. The Guild, in collaboration with many established partners and new allies, recently passed our first piece of legislation (HB2801) which calls for our state department of energy and construction contractors' certification board to establish a statewide framework for delivering home energy performance scores. We are making progress in how we think about cost effectiveness, which is partially due to the passage of HB2801. The legislation opened the door for our state public utility commission to permissively evaluate cost effectiveness at the whole building level.

To learn more about the Guild, contact Don McOdrum.

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NYSERDA Announces Residential Energy Efficiency Financing Bonds through Green Jobs-Green New York

author photoThe New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) raised $24.3 million in its first ever issuance of revenue bonds to finance loans for consumers across New York for residential energy efficiency improvements.

The Residential Energy Efficiency Financing Revenue Bonds (Series 2013A) were issued as part of NYSERDA's Green Jobs-Green New York (GJGNY) program, which is a statewide initiative to promote energy efficiency and the installation of clean technologies to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, support sustainable community development and create opportunities for green jobs.

Through its Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, NYSERDA offers residential consumers GJGNY loans, which include On-Bill Recovery Financing authorized by the Power NY Act legislation. The program is the largest and longest running program of its kind in the U.S. to take the whole-house approach to identify and install cost-effective measures to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency throughout New York.

NYSERDA joined the national HPwES Program in 2001 and recently celebrated the completion of the 50,000th HPwES project.

Learn more.

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Illinois Home Performance Delivers 1,000th Completion Certificate

author photoIllinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (IHP), a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program administered by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, saw phenomenal growth over the last year. Over 1,000 homeowners qualified to receive IHP Silver and Gold Certificates that recognize savings of 15% or more on their home energy upgrades with several thousand more upgrades on the horizon for the coming program year.

Homeowners are recognizing the value of their efficiency investments by listing their IHP Certificates on the local Multiple Listing Services (MLS). Illinois's largest MLS, MRED, has a checkbox for Illinois Home Performance, and in the coming year IHP will be involved in continuing education for real estate agents. As a statewide program that serves homeowners in all six Illinois investor owned utility territories, IHP is uniquely positioned to deliver consistent statewide marketing and education at all levels of the real estate transaction chain. IHP looks forward to another tremendous year of advancing home performance in Illinois.

IHP joined the national HPwES Program in 2011 and has issued 1,075 silver and 23 gold certificates to date.

Learn more about IHP's Completion Certificates.

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Kentucky Housing Corporation Redefines its HPwES Program without ARRA Funds

KY Home Performance (KHP) is a statewide Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program developed by Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) in partnership with Kentucky's Department of Energy Development and Independence. KHP helps to develop a stable home performance industry in Kentucky, as well as reduce residential energy consumption throughout Kentucky's housing stock.

During the initial phase of KHP, 147 contractors were enlisted, 1,071 homes were retrofitted, and a permanent foundation was established for the home performance industry in Kentucky. KHP generated over $12 million in business throughout the state and achieved energy savings of 26% on average per project. An on-bill finance pilot, complete integration with a large utility partner, and successful partnership with state agencies were markers of success for Phase I. In 2012, KHP was awarded an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

KHP has now moved into Phase II and offers additional loan options to consumers through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) PowerSaver secured loan and the KHP PowerPlus unsecured loan. Whole-house retrofits are incentivized through the PowerPlus loan by KHP providing loan capital, which is revolved back as the loans are repaid and provides interest rate buy down money.

KHP will continue working with utilities and partners across the state to further promote the previous successes. KHP plans to participate in the DOE's Home Energy Score program, as well as develop a new single measure contractor training protocol. Encouraging home climate control system installers who can use single-measure installations with a tablet-based home evaluation will encourage a greater number of contractors to participate in the second phase of KHP.

Learn more or email Andrew Isaacs, KY Home Performance program manager.

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HPwES Tips for Contractor Success

Fall is fast approaching. The summer vacationers are returning home and school is back in session; the days are getting shorter and the nights cooler. Early fall is an excellent time to promote home performance work so make your business visible to potential customers.

Expand your company's marketing materials beyond the usual trifold handouts, refrigerator magnets and pens. Utilize distinctive yard signs wherever you perform assessments or home performance projects and ask your clients to leave it in place for several weeks after the project is completed. Have coffee mugs made (go for the large size!) with your logo and the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR logo prominently displayed on one side and an eye-catching phrase on the other, such as "Property of an Energy Efficient Home." Leave it with your clients at the conclusion of each job.

Take advantage of the activities that get people in your community outside at this time of year. Stadium cups are a popular item so have some made with your logo and a catchy sales pitch—don't forget your website address—to hand out at community events, workshops, and sporting events. Sponsor a hole at a local charity golf tournament, co-sponsor a 5k race or something similar and provide the cups in participant "goodie bags".

Beyond marketing materials, focus on getting your satisfied customers to refer and review your company. Provide incentives such as $50 cash for a referral to a friend, neighbor, or family member that result in sales. Encourage your clients to write a review on Angie's List and HomeAdvisor, or send it in to the local community newsletter or consumer guide. Post the positive reviews on your company website. Be sure to follow up with customers that submit poor reviews to resolve their issues and suggest they update the review.

Be sure to update your company's website. It is the public face and "storefront" of your company. The website should be easy to navigate, inviting, and customer friendly. Avoid too much technical information and clutter. Use simple, effective graphics and recent photos of your contractors' work or company events. Clearly spell out what your company does and why its services are valuable. Avoid gimmicks and pop-ups. In highly competitive market areas, the accessibility and attractiveness of your website could often be the difference between making the sale and losing it to the competition.

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Quarterly Reports Due

Sponsors, don't forget that 2013 Quarter 3 reports are due by Thursday, October, 31 2013. Please remember to report your quarterly project numbers in the updated Quarterly Report Template to be sent by your Account Manager.

In 2013 Q2, the HPwES Sponsors completed more than 19,600 projects. While the national Program experienced a 5% decrease in the total number of projects completed relative to the same period in 2012, five HPwES active Sponsors are almost doubling their project productions in 2013 Q2 relative to 2012 Q2. Also, for the first time in recent Program history, 12 Sponsors each completed more than 500 projects in a quarter.

View the updated project dashboards that now include project data through Q2 2013. If you have questions, please contact your Account Manager.

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The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Team
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