This report is a guide to all customer-facing financing products—products offered by a lender directly to a borrower—used to pay for energy efficiency. Intended for state and local governments that are deciding whether to start a new program, tune up and existing program, or create a Green Bank, it provides information on the full range of financing product options for target participants, the tradeoffs of various products, and potential advantages and disadvantages for different types of customers.
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This Guide is designed to help state and local policymakers to take full advantage of new policy developments by providing them with a comprehensive set of tools to support launching or accelerating residential energy efficiency programs. The Guide focuses on four categories of policies that have proven particularly effective in providing a framework within which residential energy efficiency programs can thrive: incentives and financing, making the value of energy efficiency visible in the real estate market, data access and standardization, and supporting utility system procurement of energy efficiency.
Many states have adopted policies intended to overcome the barriers that limit the more efficient use of electricity. Yet because such efforts have not addressed the lack of consumer information and motivation to improve efficiency, many opportunities for energy efficiency remain untapped. To help address that problem, states, utilities, and other energy efficiency service providers have begun to develop new approaches to informing and motivating customers based on behavioral economics and psychology research. This report describes three broad strategies that states can use to engage consumers' participation in energy efficiency programs: provide direct consumer information and feedback on energy use, influence social norms; and match messages and messengers to target audiences. Recommendations for actions that governors can take within the context of each of those three strategies are provided.