Performance Systems Development (PSD) an Ithaca, NY and Pennsylvania-based building performance software and services provider, played a key role in shaping newly proposed federal tax credit legislation. The new legislation would create the first residential performance-based tax credit for homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements. The Cut Energy Bills at Home Act (S. 1914) was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Friday, November 18, by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and cosponsored by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California).
If passed, the measure will “cut Americans’ energy bills, catalyze the construction industry, reduce pollution, and secure the nation’s energy future,” said the bill’s sponsors. Homeowners who make efficiency improvements and reduce their heating, cooling, water heating, and permanent lighting energy consumption by 20 percent would receive a $2,000 credit. Homeowners would receive an additional $500 for every additional 5 percent reduction in consumption, up to $5,000.
PSD was a key contributor to both the general framework and specific details of the proposed legislation. In consultations with Senate staff and national not for profit organizations, CEO Greg Thomas and PSD staff leant their expertise to a range of technical issues, including required standards for utility bill calibration, energy modeling tool certification and quality assurance.
The tax credits are linked to documented energy savings predictions in homes. Homeowners will be required to hire a certified contractor to assess their home and establish baseline energy use based on utility bill calibration. Estimated energy savings are modeled using software approved by the Secretary of Energy. Through TREAT, its innovative and award-winning energy modeling software, PSD pioneered the idea that home performance professionals can build a more comprehensive and accurate picture of a building’s energy usage by matching actual fuel bills with the energy model. This calibrated method tells an honest story of occupant behavior so savings predictions are more accurate and measurable. TREAT is used extensively in New York and around the country in energy retrofit programs.
Other industry leaders, including Efficiency First, Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), the Alliance to Save Energy, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and the Building Performance Institute joined PSD in working on the legislation.
“We applaud Senators Snowe, Bingaman, and Feinstein’s introduction of the first home performance tax credit. This legislation is a monumental step forward for both homeowners and the home performance industry,” said Greg Thomas, CEO of Performance Systems Development and Chairman of Efficiency First. “By providing financial incentives for real energy savings, the tax credit will save energy, save money, and create jobs. This is a real and sustainable growth opportunity for our industry and real savings for the American homeowner. This is a win-win-win for America.”