The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) recently announced that States can apply for their funding allocations through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)-created Home Energy Rebate programs.
Utah’s Office of Energy Development (OED) will administer the funds in Utah. Once the program is underway, multifamily affordable housing (MFAH) will be able to receive rebates of up to $14 thousand per apartment to install heat pump-based HVAC and water heaters, and to upgrade their property’s electrical infrastructure. They can tap up to $8 thousand per apartment for other efficiency solutions.
Heat pumps for space conditioning and water heating are several times more efficient than the business-as-usual alternatives, such as gas-fired furnaces and water heaters and central air conditioners. Switching to heat pumps can reduce operational costs and improve property value while creating healthier, safer, more comfortable, and affordable homes for the low-income tenants. Growing demand for these systems has been slowly but surely driving down costs.
DOE has given states significant flexibility in designing their Rebate programs. MFAH needs to push Utah’s OED to design a program that can effectively serve MFAH, otherwise the State may create a program that ultimately favors the single-family market.
History shows that programs designed around single-family without taking MFAH into account will ignore that market segment. For guidance, OED should collaborate with the Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program in Utah. RMP’s program offers a one-stop-shop approach that includes outreach and education, income-qualification, project design and management, and reporting. It was crafted in collaboration with multifamily stakeholders, and it is one of the country’s leading electrification programs.
About the author:
Ryan Kristoff is the Grants Director at ICAST, a national nonprofit that designs holistic retrofits solutions for MFAH. He works with local government, utility, state, and federal partners to design and launch clean energy programs to benefit MFAH.