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Shaheen & Bipartisan, Bicameral Group of Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Cut Energy Costs for Homeowners and Save Energy Efficiency Jobs

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the HOPE for HOMES Act of 2020 with U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Chris Coons (D-DE), bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help save jobs in the energy efficiency sector during and after the coronavirus pandemic. These jobs are primarily electricians, HVAC technicians, manufacturers, and construction workers at small businesses. The bill also includes rebates to help homeowners retrofit their homes to cut their monthly energy costs, stimulate the energy efficiency market for jobs and suppliers, and help protect the environment by investing in clean, efficient technology. Congressmen Peter Welch (D-VT) and David McKinley (R-WV) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

The energy efficiency industry – which prior to the pandemic employed more than 2.3 million Americans – has been hit hard by COVID-19, shedding more than 400,000 jobs since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. Energy-efficient retrofits save consumers nearly $800 billion each year on their energy bills and are responsible for more than $540 million in public health benefits annually. This bipartisan legislation will help the energy efficiency sector retain jobs and invest in much-needed training to create new opportunities in the workforce. This is vital at a time when more than 45 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March. 

“As we reopen our economy and society, Congress has a responsibility to meet the immediate needs of today and prepare for the challenges of tomorrow. This legislation helps us do just that by stimulating urgently-needed job creation, while investing in long-term, sustainable solutions to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs for American homeowners,” said Shaheen. “This is bipartisan, commonsense legislation that I believe lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can get behind.”

The HOPE for HOMES Act of 2020 will:

  • Create rebates for homeowners to invest in energy efficiency improvements, including:
    • $800 to add insulation to their home.
    • $1,500 for adding insulation and replacing part of their HVAC system.
    • $2,000 for retrofits that lead to savings of 20-40% of whole-house energy use.
    • $4,000 for retrofits that save at least 40% of whole-house energy use.
    • Doubling the rebate amount for moderate income families.
  • Authorize $500 million in grants to help develop training curriculums and assist companies in providing financial incentives to contractors to undertake online training to advance their capabilities to efficiently retrofit homes.
  • Provide $1,000 per employee rehired, up to $10,000 total, to contracting companies willing to cover the costs of training and technology upgrades needed to achieve online learning.
  • Provide a $1,000 stipend to contractors who complete the HOPE Training and are prepared to advance their careers and help homeowners with home retrofits.

A fact sheet on the bill can be found here.  Full text of the bill can be found here.

Senator Shaheen is a champion of efforts that invest in sustainability and promote energy efficiency. Shaheen has introduced widely praised bipartisan legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to save American homes and businesses billions of dollars in energy costs and dramatically reduce the United States’ carbon footprint.