For those interested in energy efficiency and residential construction, what were the top ten news stories of the decade? I propose the following list — a list inevitably influenced by the years I spent as editor of Energy Design Update.
2000 — Vermont creates the nation’s first “energy-efficiency utility”
A March 1, 2000 decision by the Vermont Public Service Board transferred responsibility for the delivery of state-mandated energy-efficiency programs to Efficiency Vermont, a new “energy-efficiency utility.” The new utility is funded through a monthly charge on customers’ electricity bills.
Scudder Parker, who was at that time the director of the Energy Efficiency Division of the Vermont Department of Public Service, explained, “We believe this is the best way to remove the inherent conflict that utilities have between selling electricity and conserving electricity.”
2001 — Home Performance With Energy Star program launched
A new program to encourage energy-efficiency improvements in existing homes, Home Performance With Energy Star, was launched in New York in 2001. For years, dozens of utilities have offered subsidized energy audits for existing homes. But Home Performance With Energy Star was one of the first programs to offer subsidized energy audits by home performance contractors who were also qualified to perform energy retrofit work.
Studies have shown that homeowners are much more likely to undertake energy improvements if they are offered a “one-stop-shopping” option rather than a multi-step process involving an auditor and several different contractors (for example, an HVAC contractor and an insulation contractor). A joint program of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Home Performance With Energy Star is now active in 27 states.
2002 — Energy Star Homes programs established in all 50 states
Although the Energy Star Homes program was launched in 1995, it took until August 2002 for all 50 states to have an Energy Star Homes…