HUD pilot program strives to produce industry standard for energy efficiency

When property owners begin to realize energy efficiency can both help the environment and lower their utility bills, they may not know where to start, although they might hire a provider of home and commercial inspections. From there, though, what energy standards should they strive for?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is hoping to answer that question through a pilot program called the Energy Innovation Fund. Last week, HUD awarded $23 million in grants to 12 different organizations across the country that are working to improve energy use.

While this goal alone is critical, HUD officials hope that the program will encourage other organizations to develop innovative processes and products that will improve energy use.

"These grants are being awarded to a diverse collection of organizations that will help us find new ways to cut energy, save money and generate jobs!" acting Federal Housing Commissioner Carol Galante said in a statement. "This is more than just 'going green,' it's about bringing real dollars and cents solutions to a sector of the market that is currently wasting money heating and cooling buildings, some of which were built more than a generation ago."

The Energy Innovation Fund grants should encourage recipients to enhance their energy efficiency by following logical steps to achieve those goals. First, property owners can hire a home inspection service to conduct an energy audit, and then they can use advice from that Washington, D.C. home inspector to institute the necessary reforms.

Assuming all stakeholders in the home construction and remodeling market – builders, retrofitting services and companies that produce appliances – work together to encourage the standards introduced by HUD programs and other government entities, energy-efficient homes can become attainable for homeowners across the country.