In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) has also been working to ensure contractor priorities are included in stimulus packages. One example of this effort is H.R. 2043, the Home Owner Managing Energy Savings Act of 2019 (HOMES Act), which was introduced by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) last year.
The HOMES Act would provide rebates to homeowners who invest in efficiency improvements. Homeowners who demonstrate at least a 20 percent energy savings will receive a $2,500 rebate and those who demonstrate a 40 percent savings will receive a $5,000 rebate.
For a homeowner to receive the rebate, they would be required to work with a contractor who meets specific qualifications, including being accredited through ACCA’s Quality Assurance program.
ACCA and some of our efficiency allies are pushing for the HOMES Act to be included in the next COVID-19 stimulus package. And, ACCA is supporting a more robust version of the HOMES Act - the HOPE for HOMES. This legislation would work in addition to the HOMES Act and provide funding for workforce training during the pandemic. HOPE for HOMES would help train contractors to evaluate residential buildings’ energy use and design a retrofit and/or install high-performing features, such as HVAC systems, to reduce the overall energy consumption and increase resilience. This is key to keeping residents healthy and safe during the shelter-in-place scenario.
HOPE for HOMES would provide grants to training organizations, HVACR businesses and trainees, as well as State Energy Offices to supplement certified HOPE trainings. There is an extensive list of trainings included in the HOPE for HOMES. ACCA trainings include:
· Residential HVAC Design for Quality Installation
· Technicians Field Practices for Quality Installation
· Home Evaluation and Performance Improvement
· Duct Design Basics
· Duct Diagnostic and Repairs
· Entry Level Technicians
Should HOPE for HOMES be included in the next stimulus package it would provide support for the HVACR industry to continue training a highly qualified workforce while continuing to pay their employees through the pandemic. This would mean a high quality workforce for the future that would ensure quality installation for their customers.