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DDCF National Competition: Energy Efficiency Retrofit Policies and Programs

Awarded: Jan 01, 2010

The following nine organizations were competitively selected to receive grants totaling $2,683,269 to support projects that feature innovative, scalable strategies for spurring energy efficiency retrofits of existing buildings:



Vermont Energy Investment Corporation – Burlington, VT, 2010 

$350,000 over 2 years

To partner with two affordable housing organizations in Vermont to demonstrate how deep energy efficiency retrofits in single- and multi-family residences can make housing permanently and comprehensively affordable (by reducing occupants’ energy bills and insulating them from increases in energy costs). In addition to elevating energy usage as a prominent component of housing affordability, the project will also demonstrate how to harness various sources of government funding to finance energy efficiency retrofits.


University of California, Davis – Davis, CA, 2010

$350,000 over 2 years

To focus on how to achieve retrofits in the multi-tenant light commercial real estate sector (e.g., strip malls, office parks), which is a subsector that has not been effectively targeted for energy efficiency improvements. Working with utilities from across the country, the project will replicate successful approaches developed in California for achieving whole-building retrofits.


Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future – Washington, DC, 2010

$135,269 over 1.5 years

To focus on increasing the adoption of energy efficiency in affordable multi-family housing. The project will involve working with three large housing providers in New York City to build energy use management systems within the organizations and to demonstrate how energy efficiency can be elevated from isolated green projects to an integral part of large-scale affordable housing management.


Pecan Street Project, Inc. – Austin, TX, 2010

$350,000 over 2 years

To conduct a study to document the economic benefits and energy savings of energy efficiency retrofits undertaken in response to municipal policies in Austin that require home sellers to undertake an energy audit at the time of sale. The research will also seek to understand how homeowners respond to energy audits with the goal of increasing the percentage of homeowners who make the recommended energy efficiency improvements. The project will compile best practices that can be implemented by other communities in Texas and across the nation.


National Housing Trust – Washington, DC, 2010

$300,000 over 2 years

To focus on how to achieve energy efficiency retrofits in affordable multi-family rental housing, a real estate sector that has not traditionally been targeted for efficiency investments. The project will demonstrate how to harness significant sources of funding – primarily from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, state housing finance agencies, and local utilities – that are potentially available in every state but are almost never used in tandem. NHT will partner with leading national energy efficiency organizations to promote successful retrofit financing models in five states.


Environmental Defense Fund – New York, NY, 2010

$350,000 over 2 years

To design and test new standards for measuring the savings from energy improvements that meet the requirements of private lenders and investors. Although verification programs currently exist, they are not uniform and are designed to meet the needs of engineers rather than finance professionals. By better identifying the requirements of the investor community and establishing uniform guidelines, EDF seeks to make evident the business case to open the flow of private capital to bring energy efficiency projects to scale nationwide.


Environmental and Energy Study Institute – Washington, DC, 2010

$225,000 over 2 years

To work with South Carolina's rural electric cooperatives to design and implement a pilot project that finances residential energy efficiency improvements through a customer’s electric bill (i.e., “on-bill financing”). The project will target rural areas and will serve as a model for similar programs that can be implemented throughout South Carolina and potentially across the nation by rural electric cooperatives.


Conservation Services Group – Westborough, MA, 2010

$348,000 over 2 years

To work with several major Multiple Listing Services (MLS) in New York State, along with other industry stakeholders such as Realtors and builders, to establish an energy efficiency category in the MLS. This feature will provide information to homebuyers about the energy efficiency of the properties they are considering for purchase and encourage energy efficiency improvements by sellers when preparing homes for sale. If successful, this approach to disseminating energy performance information could be replicated nationwide.


Center for Neighborhood Technology – Chicago, IL, 2010

$275,000 over 1 year

To refine and launch an online tool (“My Home EQ”) for homeowners interested in how to retrofit their homes for greater energy efficiency. The tool will calculate and display a home’s actual energy use, allow for comparison with similar homes based on location and type of house, provide customized recommendations for energy efficiency improvements, and offer information about local contractors and financing opportunities. The project will focus on the Chicago area for the initial roll-out and will develop a business plan for how to expand to other metropolitan areas.