The Regional Energy+ Program (REPP)
The HOME Foundation has been part of the Energy+ Initiative since 2018 following the successful completion of the State College Community Land Trust Green Build. The net-zero ready duplex was designed and built by partners in the Penn State Hamer Centre for Community Design - Energy Efficient Housing Research Group, Envinity, Inc., the State College Borough and the Pennsylvania Housing and Research Center. THF was invited to join the group to determine ways to use the lessons learned from the project to inform energy and cost saving retrofits on the homes we purchase, rehab, and sell to a first time home buyer, and the properties we develop for rentals. Having affordable energy systems in homes creates lower housing cost burdens, especially in low-to moderate-income homes.
You can read about the success of the pilot project here.
Most recently the group was broadened to include the Centre Regional Planning Agency, Centre County Planning and Community Development Offices, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County and the Centre County Housing and Land Trust to develop a Regional Energy+ Program. Together, the group submitted a proposal to the ICLEI Action fund's million dollar grant competition supported by Google. The fund is designed to support local governments addressing climate change. Any municipality submitting a proposal had to have a climate action plan in place, and the Centre Region just passed theirs in 2021! You can read all about the Centre Region Climate Action and Adaptation Plan here.
If funded, the REPP will develop an audit program for low-to moderate-income (LMI) households and property owners who rent to LMI households at reduced rates. The program will involve a free standardized energy audit and individualized implementation plan. Some of the funds would be used for a deep energy retrofit of current projects with the housing partners and the final half would used to seed a revolving loan fund with low interest loans to help households make renovations in their implementation plan.