Thermal Efficiency Taskforce

Overview

The Public Service Department created and facilitated a task force to ensure an integrated and comprehensive statewide whole-building approach to thermal energy efficiency that will put Vermont on the path toward meeting the state building efficiency goals set forth in statute. The taskforce will complete initial analysis and recommendations by the end of December 2012.


Contents


Description

The Thermal Efficiency Taskforce was created to ensure an integrated and comprehensive statewide whole-building approach to thermal energy efficiency that will put Vermont on the path toward meeting the state building efficiency goals set forth in statute.

Goals

  • Improving the energy fitness of 25% of the state's housing stock by 2020 (approximately 80,000 housing units).
  • Reducing annual fuel needs and fuel bills by an average of 25% in housing units served.
  • Reducing total fossil fuel consumption across all buildings by an additional one-half percent each year, leading to a total reduction of 6% annually by 2017 and 10% annually by 2025.
  • Saving VT families and businesses a total of $1.5 billion on their fuel bills over the lifetimes of the improvements and measures installed.
  • Increasing weatherization services to low income Vermonters by expanding the number of units weatherized, or the scope of services provided, or both.
  • The task force will complete initial analysis and recommendations by the end of December 2012 and will address the following areas:

Program/Services Assessment

Building upon the work accomplished in the Comprehensive Energy Plan and related recent reports and efforts, the Task Force will first work to clearly identify: 1) all current market actors delivering thermal efficiency services; 2) programs providing incentives and technical assistance; and 3) the relationship between and interrelatedness of electric and thermal efficiency measures and services. The assessment will also consider the following:

  • Whether all consumers/market sectors (including low and middle income consumers, renters, historic building owners, small businesses, etc.) are being adequately addressed through the existing programs/services.
  • Whether consideration of renewables for heating (such as biomass and geothermal systems) should be included in the Taskforce and/or through a subcommittee.
  • Where Vermont currently stands relative to the statutory goals for improving the energy efficiency of Vermont homes and other buildings.
  • The relationship between electric and thermal efficiency measures to ascertain electric savings gained from implementing thermal efficiency measures and vice versa.

Program Delivery, Coordination and Development/Improvement

The Task Force will address consumer barriers and develop recommendations designed to achieve, from a customer's point of view, a smooth "one-stop" approach to energy efficiency projects. Examples of activities in this area will include:

  • Develop a plan to address any major gaps in the consumer/market sectors
  • Develop a Coordination, Outreach, and Training plan to ensure that information and adequate training is being provided to energy service providers in a timely, ongoing fashion.
    • Assess how current and potential energy service providers, including local fuel dealers, can best be encouraged to fully participate in existing thermal efficiency programs/incentives.
    • Assess what contractors, fuel dealers, and other small business or self employed Vermonters need to be able to offer efficiency home improvement services (training in whole building performance services, business planning, sales and marketing skills, etc.)
    • Identify areas of the state lacking effective programs or an adequate number of service providers and develop a plan to build that capacity where needed
    • Map out a clear, simple process that service providers can implement and consumers can follow to quickly and easily make energy efficiency improvements in their buildings, from assessment through financing and implementation. This should include consideration of various consumers - low income, middle income, and small business, for example - having different points of entry and/or program support and ensure that from an individual customer's point of view the process is smooth even though multiple program types and deliveries exist.
    • Designate a central location, through a coordinated website perhaps, to be the statewide repository for information and advice on all programs/services available in the state.

Finance and Funding Assessment

The Task Force will make recommendations regarding the level of money needed to achieve the state's thermal efficiency goals and will identify financing mechanisms and funding sources to get us there. Examples of activities in this area will include:

  • Consider the mix of funding vs. financing needs for various market segments, e.g., low, moderate, high-income.
  • Explore potential financing mechanisms, recommend and prioritize which ones should be pursued, and create a plan for doing so, including:
    • Utility On-bill Financing
    • Energy-Efficient Mortgages
    • Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Districts
    • Public-Purpose Energy Savings Company
    • Investigate other private financing options
    • Identify all current and possible funding sources and recommend what sources should be pursued and at what level, balanced with financing options.
    • Investigate steps necessary to better incorporate a buildings' efficacy into traditional lending considerations.

Measurement and Tracking Development

The Task Force will investigate and recommend a system to measure progress; track results and benefits; and develop interim benchmarks, to meet the state's building efficiency goals. Examples of activities in this area will include:

  • Recommend a designated entity to be responsible for tracking progress.
  • Develop a tracking process to ensure the state will have an accurate count of how many buildings have been improved and an accurate picture of the extent and cost/benefits of those improvements.
  • Develop a timeline for meeting the state's building efficiency goals.

Subcommittees

The Taskforce subcommittees include: Residential Services Subcommittee; Commercial Services Subcommittee; Energy Service Provider Subcommittee; Financing and Funding Subcommittee; Renewable Energy Subcommittee; and Planning and Measurement Subcommittee.

The Thermal Efficiency Task Force has six sub-committees in the following areas: residential services; multi-family; commercial services; energy service providers; finance and funding; and planning and measurement.

Residential Services SubCommittee

The subcommittee will first complete an assessment of what residential thermal efficiency programs/services currently exist in the state and then complete recommendations for improved coordination between the programs/services to ensure a one-stop path for consumers.

Program/Services Assessment:

Building upon existing work/reports the subcommittee will identify:

  • All current market actors delivering residential thermal efficiency services;
  • Programs providing incentives and technical assistance;
  • Gaps in existing programs/services for particular consumers (including low and middle income consumers, renters, and historic home owners);
  • Best practices for existing programs/services.
Coordination Development/Improvement:

After completing the assessment the subcommittee will develop recommendations designed to achieve, a smooth "one-stop" approach to energy efficiency projects. Tasks will include:

  • Developing a plan to address any major gaps in the consumer/market sectors.
  • Mapping out a clear, simple process that service providers can implement and consumers can follow to quickly and easily make energy efficiency improvements in their homes. This should include consideration of various consumers having different points of entry and/or program support.
  • Developing recommendations for integrating delivery of thermal energy efficiency with increased use of renewables for heating (such as biomass and geothermal systems).
  • Developing an outreach/coordination plan to ensure ongoing coordination between programs and energy service providers.
  • Designating a central location, through a coordinated website perhaps, to be the statewide repository for information and advice on all programs/services available in the state.
LIHEAP/Weatherization Improvement Subgroup:

Building on the recent work by the state Fuel Assistance Office, assess the current level of integration and coordination between LIHEAP and the state Weatherization program and provide recommendations for improving the delivery of whole building efficiency services to LIHEAP recipients.

The subcommittee will first complete an assessment of what commercial thermal efficiency programs/services currently exist in the state and then complete recommendations for improved coordination between the programs/services to ensure a one-stop path for consumers/business owners.

Program/Services Assessment:

Building upon existing work/reports the subcommittee will identify:

  • All current market actors delivering commercial thermal efficiency services.
  • Programs providing incentives and technical assistance.
  • Gaps in existing programs/services for particular consumers (including small businesses, farms, historic building owners, etc.).
  • Best practices for existing programs/services.
Coordination Development/Improvement:

After completing the assessment the subcommittee will develop recommendations designed to achieve, a smooth "one-stop" approach to energy efficiency projects. Tasks will include:

  • Developing a plan to address any major gaps in the consumer/market sectors.
  • Mapping out a clear, simple process that service providers can implement and consumers can follow to quickly and easily make energy efficiency improvements in their buildings.
  • Developing recommendations for integrating delivery of thermal energy efficiency with increased use of renewables for heating (such as biomass and geothermal systems).
  • Developing an outreach/coordination plan to ensure ongoing coordination between programs and energy service providers.
  • Designating a central location, through a coordinated website perhaps, to be the statewide repository for information and advice on all programs/services available in the state.

Commercial Services Subcommittee

The subcommittee will first complete an assessment of what commercial thermal efficiency programs/services currently exist in the state and then complete recommendations for improved coordination between the programs/services to ensure a one-stop path for consumers/business owners.

Program/Services Assessment:

Building upon existing work/reports the subcommittee will identify:

  • All current market actors delivering commercial thermal efficiency services.
  • Programs providing incentives and technical assistance.
  • Gaps in existing programs/services for particular consumers (including small businesses, farms, historic building owners, etc.).
  • Best practices for existing programs/services.
Coordination Development/Improvement:

After completing the assessment the subcommittee will develop recommendations designed to achieve, a smooth "one-stop" approach to energy efficiency projects. Tasks will include:

  • Developing a plan to address any major gaps in the consumer/market sectors.
  • Mapping out a clear, simple process that service providers can implement and consumers can follow to quickly and easily make energy efficiency improvements in their buildings.
  • Developing recommendations for integrating delivery of thermal energy efficiency with increased use of renewables for heating (such as biomass and geothermal systems).
  • Developing an outreach/coordination plan to ensure ongoing coordination between programs and energy service providers.
  • Designating a central location, through a coordinated website perhaps, to be the statewide repository for information and advice on all programs/services available in the state.

Energy Service Provider Subcommittee

This subcommittee will focus on building and improving energy service providers/companies capacity and knowledge. Tasks will include:

  • Developing an Outreach and Training Plan: to ensure that information and adequate training is being provided to energy service providers in a timely, ongoing fashion.

  • Assess how current and potential energy service providers, including local fuel dealers, can best be encouraged to fully participate in existing thermal efficiency programs/incentives.
  • Assess what contractors, fuel dealers, and other small business or self employed Vermonters need to be able to offer efficiency home improvement services and to adequately increase the pace of completed energy efficiency projects (training in whole building performance services, business planning, sales and marketing skills, etc.).
  • Identify areas of the state lacking effective programs or an adequate number of service providers and develop a plan to build that capacity where needed.

Financing and Funding Subcommittee

This subcommittee will make recommendations regarding the level of money needed to achieve the state's thermal efficiency goals and will identify financing mechanisms and funding sources to get us there. This subcommittee may divide into Residential and Commercial subgroups. Tasks will include:

  • Considering the mix of funding vs. financing needs for various fuel types and market segments, e.g., low, moderate, high-income, institutional, renters.
  • Exploring potential financing mechanisms, recommend and prioritize which ones should be pursued, and create a plan for doing so, including:
    • Utility On-bill Financing
    • Energy-Efficient Mortgages
    • Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Districts
    • Public-Purpose Energy Savings Company
  • Investigating other private financing options
  • Identifying all current and possible funding sources, including any and all taxes, and recommend what sources should be pursued and at what level, balanced with financing options.
  • Investigating steps necessary to better incorporate a buildings' efficacy into traditional lending considerations.

Planning and Measurement Subcommittee

This subcommittee will recommend systems to measure progress; track results and benefits; and develop interim benchmarks and a roadmap, to meet the state's building efficiency goals. Tasks will include:

  • Assessing where Vermont currently stands relative to the statutory goals for improving the energy efficiency of Vermont homes and other buildings (including non-program participants).
  • Assessing the relationship between electric and thermal efficiency measures to ascertain electric savings gained from implementing thermal efficiency measures and vice versa.
  • Developing a tracking process to ensure the state will have an accurate count of how many buildings have been improved and an accurate picture of the extent and cost/benefits of those improvements (including non-program participants).
  • Recommending a designated entity to be responsible for measuring progress and making the information publicly available.
  • Developing a timeline, which includes interim benchmarks, for meeting the state's building efficiency goals.
  • Coordinating the findings from the other subcommittees to draft a roadmap to meeting the state's building efficiency goals.

Report

PSD Commissioner Christopher Recchia has announced the release of the Thermal Efficiency Task Force (TETF) Report to the Legislature. This report was created by the members of the TETF to recommend specific actions and initiatives that will guide the State in meeting the state building efficiency goals, improve its energy and economic security, create local jobs, and reduce environmental impacts. Also available is an Overview of the Report.

Department of Public Service

June Tierney, Commissioner
112 State Street
Montpelier, VT
05620-2601

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