Shaheen Joins Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Cut Energy Costs for Homeowners, Invest in Clean Energy Jobs & Technology

May 22, 2021

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined a bipartisan, bicameral group led by U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-VT), on legislation to help homeowners retrofit their homes to cut their monthly energy costs, stimulate the energy efficiency market for jobs and suppliers, invest in workforce training for this crucial industry and combat the climate crisis by promoting clean, energy efficient technology. Their legislation, the HOPE for HOMES Act, was also cosponsored by U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE).

“As we get our economy on the road to recovery, Congress should look to support hard-hit sectors like energy efficiency, which is important to help address our long-term energy and environmental needs. This legislation helps us do just that by stimulating job creation in local communities, while also investing in sustainable solutions to enhance energy efficiency that reduce energy costs for American homeowners,” said Senator Shaheen. “This is bipartisan, commonsense legislation that I believe lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can get behind.” 

“America’s residential buildings are a vital piece of our infrastructure and the men and women who work to decrease the energy use of our homes while making them healthier and more resilient are a key part of our nation’s energy workforce. The HOPE for HOMES Act helps small businesses invest in training their residential contractors to provide important energy upgrades to homes while helping homeowners undertake those projects through an innovative rebate program. This bill is a win for our country, our workers, our economy, and the environment,” said Steve Skodak, President and CEO of the Building Performance Association. 

As the United States looks to tackle the climate emergency, one of the best tools to do so is improving energy efficiency in American homes. Not only would this legislation cut down on energy costs for everyday Americans, it would reduce energy output across-the-board. 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. Additionally, the energy efficiency industry – which employed more than 2.3 million Americans prior to the pandemic – has been hit hard by COVID-19, with reports finding that the energy efficiency sector shed nearly 272,000 jobs, or 11% of the EE workforce, since the beginning of the pandemic. The HOPE for HOMES Act aims to address both of these issues at once. This bipartisan legislation would help the energy efficiency sector retain jobs and invest in much-needed training to create new opportunities in the workforce. It would also provide rebates to Americans looking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, driving more interest in these technologies and increasing demand.

Specifically, the HOPE for HOMES Act would:

  • 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.
    • $2,500 for adding insulation and the installation of an air source or ground source heat pump.
    • $2,000 for retrofits that lead to modeled or measured savings of 20-35% of whole-house or multifamily building energy use.
    • $4,000 for retrofits that lead to modeled or measured savings of 35% of whole-house or multifamily building energy use.
    • Doubling the rebate amount for moderate income families.
    • A rebate based on actual energy savings, per kilowatt hour, for homes and multifamily buildings that demonstrate measured energy savings of at least 15%.
    • An additional $200 rebate for each retrofit completed in an underserved community.
    • 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 is available here. Full text of the bill is available here.

Over 30 organizations have endorsed this bill, including: Alliance to Save Energy, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Association for Energy Affordability, Inc., Building Performance Association (BPA), Building Performance Institute, National Center for Healthy Housing, National Housing Trust, Sierra Club and many more.

Senator Shaheen is a leader in the Senate for safeguarding our environment, combating the effects of climate change and investing in energy efficiency policies. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Shaheen traveled to Paris to participate in high-level discussions at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference that led to the international Paris Climate Accord. Shaheen also introduced the widely praised Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC) with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), which contains key energy efficiency policy reforms that will strengthen the economy and reduce pollution. Policy experts at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that over the lifetime of the legislation through 2050, the bipartisan bill will save consumers more than $41 billion on their energy bills, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.18 billion metric tons, which is the equivalent of taking 3.1 million cars off the road each year for 30 years, and add more than 100,000 jobs to the economy. Shaheen is a founding member of the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, which brings together an equal number of Republicans and Democrats to craft and advance bipartisan solutions to address climate change.