Non-Energy Impacts of Weatherization
Download to read the study which discusses various issues related to incorporating non-energy impacts (NEIs) into costeffectiveness screening and measure selection in the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).
This study discusses various issues related to incorporating non-energy impacts (NEIs) into cost-effectiveness screening and measure selection in the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). It also provides an annotated bibliography of literature associated with home weatherization and NEIs.
A growing body of research shows that energy efficiency improvements can lead to benefits beyond energy savings. There is a long history of efforts to identify and monetize a wide variety of weatherization NEIs (sometimes referred to as non-energy benefits, or NEBs) for participants, energy providers, and society. Most NEI studies are oriented toward the contribution of NEIs to overall program cost-effectiveness and do not discuss linking NEIs to specific measures or incorporating NEIs in measure selection. However, some NEIs are naturally associated with specific measures, or can be allocated at the measure level based on energy savings. There is a wide range of reported monetization values for individual NEIs, owing to different methods and assumptions used, as well as to differences in the households, housing stock, climate, and associated programs.
The current legislative language implies that the US Department of Energy (DOE) can amend regulations to allow for the inclusion of NEIs but is not required to. This gives DOE wide discretion to choose how to amend the current program regulations to address NEIs.
Incorporating NEIs in WAP will require decisions about what types of NEIs to include, what level of monetization uncertainty is tolerable, the extent to which NEI valuations should be customized at the regional, grantee, and household levels, and how to incorporate NEIs into the existing suite of approved energy auditing software packages. The literature includes several monetization methods (measured changes in incidence and valuation, national data extrapolation to determine incidence, and participant surveys to directly value NEIs). A review of monetization methods and values for various NEIs would be required for each potential NEI considered for program inclusion, in addition to their linkage to a particular weatherization measure, if applicable. DOE will need to decide how much freedom Grantees will have to propose NEIs and their valuations and provide them with guidelines for the supporting information Grantees are expected to provide to DOE. Integrating NEIs into WAP could be done in phases. Software retooling will likely be needed to accommodate the incorporation of NEIs into WAP.
The inclusion of NEIs in the program could potentially impact overall character of WAP. For approaches such as providing a whole-home NEI credit or incorporating NEIs that are strongly tied to energy savings, such as emissions benefits, the regulations, as currently written, would likely limit the impact on the program. The largest potential for change is associated with individual measures that can be ascribed large (generally health) benefits but provide low or moderate energy savings. Phased or rolling adoption of NEIs could allow DOE to slowly make these changes while monitoring and maintaining the overall character of the program.