This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 16, 2009

DOE to Offer $454 Million for "Retrofit Ramp-Ups" in Energy Efficiency

In an effort to jump-start a shift toward greater energy efficiency across the United States, DOE unveiled on September 14 a new "Retrofit Ramp-Up" program, funded by $450 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The two-pronged effort aims to catalyze a nationwide energy efficiency upgrade that could save $100 million annually in utility bills for households and businesses. The goal of Retrofit Ramp-Up is to roll out energy efficiency to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in a variety of U.S. communities.

The new program kicks off with a Request for Information (RFI) that seeks comments on two portions of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program. The first and largest portion will offer up to $390 million for whole-neighborhood building retrofits. These will be competitively-selected projects that demonstrate a sustainable business model for providing cost-effective energy upgrades for a large percentage of the residential, commercial, and public buildings in a specific community. Possible approaches could include innovative partnerships between the public and private sector, utility retrofit and audit programs, alternative financing, retail partnerships, and others. The program will target projects that make significant, long-term impacts on energy use and that could also serve as national role models for grassroots energy efficiency efforts.

DOE is also open to ideas about how to spend up to $64 million intended for local governments that were not eligible to receive grants announced earlier this year. These funds are meant to help expand local energy efficiency efforts and reduce energy use in the commercial, residential, transportation, manufacturing, or industrial sectors. Comments on both portions of the EECBG Program are due by September 28. A solicitation is expected to be released in early October, following the public comment period. See the DOE press release, the complete RFI, and the EECBG Program Web site.