Energy Efficiency and Weatherization Programs

Projects on this topic align with one or more key Clean Energy Plan recommendations, including:  

  • Recommendation I, Address equitable access and energy affordability 
  • Recommendation J, Foster a just transition to clean energy 

Low Income Energy Assistance Program

(Recommendations I & J)

NC SEO is partnering with the Triangle J Council of Government to create a collaborative planning tool for low-income homeowners and energy efficiency, weatherization, and home repair service providers.

In North Carolina energy efficiency, weatherization, home repair, and rehabilitation programs are delivered and administered separately by multiple organizations. The separation of services and lack of coordination lack of resources hamper the deployment of energy efficiency upgrades, leaving low-income North Carolinians without services that they need and are eligible for.

The Triangle J Council of Governments will achieve this collaboration by supplementing a waitlist of over 500 homes that need weatherization improvements through a partnership with the Rebuilding Together of the Triangle. In addition, the Triangle J Council of Governments will build collaborative partnerships with weatherization and home repair providers in the Triangle area and later expand that partnership to the whole state of North Carolina in order to better coordinate weatherization and energy efficiency repair efforts.    

For more information about the Triangle J COG Low Income Energy Assistance Program Contact Matthew Davis.

Upgrade and Save Program for Manufactured Homes

(Recommendations I & J)

NC SEO is partnering with East Carolina University’s (ECU) College of Engineering and Technology to construct new ENERGY STAR-labeled manufactured homes (ESMHs) with heat pumps instead of standard manufactured homes (MH) with factory-installed electric furnaces. Participating retailers will earn a rebate of $1,000 upon verification that an ESMH has been sold, sited, and a heat pump installed. Because of MH affordability (compared to site-built homes), the primary Program beneficiaries are prospective low-to-moderate-income home buyers in North Carolina.   

The Upgrade and Save Program targets low-to-moderate income potential manufactured homebuyers in eastern NC. Most of the MHs are sold/constructed in Tier 1  counties in eastern NC where income is low and jobs are few. By using a heat pump water heater, homeowners will receive a recurring annual energy/electric savings of approximately $630/year when compared to energy costs for a standard electric furnace-equipped MH.   
Over 20 eastern NC MH retailers are participating in the Program. ECU continues to collaborate with them on Program promotion/reinforcement and is working to recruit additional retailer participants.  

For more information on the Upgrade and Save Program, contact Russell Duncan

LMI Housing Audit, Upgrade, and Monitoring

(Recommendations I & J)

The Center for Energy Research and Technology (CERT) at NC A&T University is leading a team to upgrade low-to-moderate-income houses in the greater Greensboro area with energy-saving measures. The LMI Housing Audit, Upgrade, and Monitor project will work with community partners and homeowners to identify and implement energy-saving upgrades – such as LED lightbulbs, coatings for glass windows, smart thermostats, or efficient HVAC units – on up to 30 homes. Project partners include Community Housing Solutions, Energy Reduction Specialists / Silverstein Construction, and Enpira. The team will monitor the upgrades for up to two years after- installation to measure the cost and energy savings. This information will be used to inform future housing upgrades and determine the overall impact of energy-efficiency measures. Leveraging funds from the CARES Act, CERT has secured a partnership with The Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Community Development Action Coalition- Clean Energy Initiative to install solar panels on qualified upgraded homes, with the goal of installing units on up to 15 homes.  

LMI Housing Energy Efficiency Impact

(Recommendations I & J)

To better understand the impact of energy-efficiency measures and serve as a university learning lab, the Center for Energy Research and Technology (CERT) is upgrading a living laboratory on NC A&T’s campus. This project will install and monitor energy efficiency measures to achieve a net-zero manufactured home compared to non-efficient homes. The overall goal is to quantify the impact of upgrades on energy use and cost savings to inform future similar manufactured housing upgrades. This will provide reference information about payback periods and efficiency for various energy efficiency measures. Simultaneously, it will also provide a venue for energy audit certification training for NC A&T students. 

For more information about NC A&T Housing energy efficiency projects, contact Matthew Davis.

Enhancing Electric Rebate Programs 

(Recommendations I & J)

Many of the 26 electric cooperatives in North Carolina offer rebate programs for high-efficiency heat pump systems. While these programs are popular, low-to-middle income customers are unable to participate due to high upfront costs. 
The Enhancing Electric Rebate Program, administered by Advanced Energy, will utilize existing electric rebate programs on North Carolina electric cooperatives to provide high-efficiency heat pump systems to rental apartments, manufactured housing, and other homes. Success of this project will allow co-ops to market directly to households most in need of assistance and fully fund the cost of upgrades.

Supportive Housing Mechanical System Efficiency Upgrades

(Recommendations I & J)

Advanced Energy will also provide funding for mechanical equipment audits and mechanical system changeouts to optimize building energy use in supportive housing non-profit organizations.  Advanced Energy has identified over 200 SHDP projects, which include:

•    Low-income multifamily housing.
•    Emergency housing. 
•    Transitional housing.
•    Hospice care housing.

This project will reduce total energy costs by replacing inefficient heating/cooling systems and/or water heaters. In addition, it will educate supportive housing building non-profits on energy efficiency opportunities and benefits.
For more information about Advanced Energy projects, contact Bob Leker