Efficiency Vermont's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program report and analysis
The Efficiency Vermont Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program officially launched in 2005. In 2008, when the Vermont Legislature set a statewide goal to weatherize 80,000 homes by the year 2020, the program was galvanized. The legislation sought to harness energy efficiency as a driver of savings for consumers and economic development in Vermont. In order to meet the goal, Vermont’s residential retrofit programs would need to scale up.
This report was prepared to provide an overview and analysis of results and lessons learned under Efficiency Vermont’s program from 2011-2013. The aim was to explore the following questions:
- What are the factors that motivate customers to initiate and complete retrofit projects?
- How have these factors influenced the growth and development of the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program through 2013?
- What are the best options for cost-effectively increasing project completions while maintaining a market-based program structure?
- What other opportunities exist to update and evolve the program, setting the stage to accommodate and encourage further growth?
- There was a 377% increase in the number of homes retrofitted through Efficiency Vermont's program from 2008-2013
- There is a strong correlation between statewide marketing and customer interest in thermal efficiency
- Incentives are the single most important factor in converting energy audits into project completions
These are questions that are frequently posed to the staff of Efficiency Vermont by contractors, partner organizations, and others who are engaged in the broader effort to help Vermont meet the 80,000 homes retrofit goal by 2020. Several other studies in recent years have also sought to address these questions. The Public Service Department provides robust third-party evaluation and oversight of all Efficiency Vermont programs, and in 2013 completed both an impact and process evaluation of the Efficiency Vermont Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. The High Meadows Fund also helped to conduct market research and convened focus groups exploring the barriers and potential motivations behind the decision-making of single-family homeowners to complete retrofits. These studies have all provided valuable insights that Efficiency Vermont is currently working to incorporate into its program design and delivery.
This report was developed to complement that work by providing additional perspective from Efficiency Vermont, based on a detailed analysis of program data. It is not a substitute for independent evaluation.
It is our hope that the data and analysis included in this report will serve as a resource to inform the conversations that are taking place around the 80,000 homes retrofit goal, deepen engagement and collaboration among partners, and provide transparency about the operations and long term strategy of the Efficiency Vermont Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.