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Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2827-2839; doi:10.3390/su5062827
Article

Grants versus Financing for Domestic Retrofits: A Case Study from Efficiency Maine

Received: 9 May 2013 / Revised: 26 May 2013 / Accepted: 7 June 2013 / Published: 21 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creative Solutions to Big Challenges)
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Abstract

Any attempts to limit the impacts of climate change must maximize the potential for energy efficiency in existing dwellings. Retrofitting the existing stock of aging and inefficient dwellings is a challenge on many fronts. A number of programs have been put in place to encourage domestic retrofits by reducing barriers such as the upfront costs and access to capital. While many such programs are delivering positive results, there is much uncertainty regarding what constitutes success, as well as the long term cost effectiveness of various approaches. Geographic, demographic, and programmatic differences frequently cloud the ability to make comparisons across programs. This work examines a case study from Efficiency Maine in the United States, in which a grant program transitioned to a financing program. The grant program was highly popular and delivered significant energy savings, but used considerable public funds. The financing program reaches fewer homeowners, but delivers larger retrofit projects per homeowner, and leverages private investment with smaller public expenditures. Which of the two programs can be considered more successful? This work explores the methods of assessing this question and offers the author’s perspectives.
Keywords: domestic retrofit; energy efficiency; market transformation; financing domestic retrofit; energy efficiency; market transformation; financing
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Gillich, A. Grants versus Financing for Domestic Retrofits: A Case Study from Efficiency Maine. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2827-2839.

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