Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) offers a wide array of energy programs to improve home energy systems as well as offering certification trainings for professionals making improvements. Ultimately, these initiatives help reduce energy use and cost, create safer home environments, and offer a multifaceted approach to energy efficiency education and training.
KY Home Performance
Using Recovery Act stimulus funds in 2010, Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) partnered with the Department for Energy Development (DEDI) and Independence to create the KY Home Performance (KHP) Program. Through partnerships with contractors, utility providers, financial partners, non-profits and others, together with DEDI we’ve made KHP a nationally-recognized energy financing program.
Since that original Stimulus funding, KHP has grown into a revolving loan fund with the help of our partners Renew Financial and the Warehouse for Home Energy Efficiency Loans (WHEEL) and in 2016 we extended this financing program to include residential solar installations. At this time, the program has closed and is no longer accepting applications.
Residential Energy Efficiency (REE) – Training Center
The Residential Energy Efficiency (REE) Training Center offers is a multi-faceted approach to energy efficiency education. The REE Training Center, located in Frankfort, Kentucky offers educational opportunities for professionals to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to work in the energy efficiency industry. REE offers a full suite of Building Performance Institute (BPI) Home Energy Professionals (HEP) certifications. KHC has received national accreditation for its Home Energy Professionals training courses. REE is also a certified BPI test center, equipping building science professionals with credentials that convey their knowledge, education, and professionalism. REE continues to work with industry partners to develop training courses tailored to meet the specific needs of their workforce.
In addition to training and certification for professionals, REE is exploring opportunities to partner with K-12 schools and Area Technology Centers to promote energy education and awareness in order to cultivate informed, responsible energy consumers.
Weatherization Assistance Program
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is the nation’s largest residential energy efficiency program. WAP provides cost-effective energy efficiency measures for existing residential and multifamily housing with low-income residents. It includes a wide variety of energy efficiency measures that encompass the building envelope, its heating and cooling systems, its electrical system, and electricity consuming appliances.
The benefits of WAP begin with reducing the energy bills of recipients for a long period of time. Some measures, such as insulating walls or roofs, can provide savings for the lifetime of a house – 30 years or more. Other measures, such as making heating or cooling equipment more efficient, will provide savings for 10-15 years. On average, the value of weatherization improvements is 2.2 times greater than the cost.
Another distinguishing feature of weatherization is attention to the all-around safety of the home. Weatherization service providers check major energy systems to ensure occupant safety. Service providers look at the house as a system under the concept of “whole-house weatherization.”
Today’s WAP comprises a comprehensive series of energy efficiency measures that are based on sophisticated analyses of individual homes. These analyses take the whole-house approach, which maximizes energy and dollar savings. Because of this rigorous approach with analyses to back it up, weatherization has become a leader in advancing home energy science and in helping spawn a new industry providing home energy efficiency services to the wider public.
WAP serves families at or below 200 percent of the poverty level free of charge and limits the amount of money that can be spent on any single residence with an average expenditure of $6,500 per home. As a result, only the most cost-effective measures are included in the upgrade of a particular home. This constant pressure for low-cost energy savings has become the trademark of weatherization and distinguishes WAP from the larger home retrofit industry.
As Kentucky’s recipient of the U.S. Department of Energy WAP funding, KHC administers the program across the state through the Community Action Kentucky network of 23 local Community Action Agencies.
Solar Kentucky Project
Solar Kentucky is a collaborative project spearheaded by Clean Power Planet. The goal of the project is to promote interest in energy efficiency and solar energy in Kentucky. Because of common interests in energy efficiency and sustainable energy sources, Clean Power Planet, Habitat for Humanity, and Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) have formed a consortium to further those goals. Clean Power Planet’s objective with the Solar Kentucky Project is to facilitate energy efficiency upgrades and solar array installations on low-income Habitat for Humanity homes.
KHC’s mission of providing safe, quality, affordable housing includes finding ways to reduce the maintenance and energy costs of that housing once a homeowner has moved in. One avenue to achieving that mission is through energy efficient construction. Reducing a homeowner’s energy expenses has a continuing impact on the sustainability of homeownership.
For more than 20 years KHC has required builders to exceed energy codes and standards by 20 percent or more. KHC has raised its minimum design standards to Energy Star® specifications for single-family construction. While we do not require the Energy Star® label as there are many products that exceed Energy Star® standards without having been Energy Star® certified, we do require that standards meet or exceed Energy Star® specifications. KHC also requires structures to exceed the 2012 IECC (energy code), surpassing the state’s minimum requirement of the 2009 energy code. This requirement applies for any single family unit allocated resources from KHC for construction or rehabilitation in which KHC funding exceeds ten percent of the total development cost.
History has shown that extremely energy efficient projects perform much better over the life of the project due to lower operating costs as a direct result of energy efficient construction. KHC is exploring avenues to promote energy efficient construction in multifamily projects to increase financial sustainability of projects. KHC currently requires Energy Star® specifications in its Minimum Design and Construction Guidelines. One possible approach is to incentivize energy efficiency greater than Energy Star® standards, e.g. Passive House design, etc., through the competitive scoring process in the Qualified Action Plan (QAP) for tax credits in 2019. With KHC’s current minimum design standards for multifamily construction, Passive House design would require very few additional measures on the front end to deliver improved financial sustainability over the life of the project. However, heightened energy efficiency requirements may increase construction costs. KHC is exploring relationships with partners to determine if a means of defraying the increased construction costs may be developed.
to learn about these weatherization options, as well as other programs, in your area.