Sustainable Design for the 21st Century

FLASH! The Energy Incentive is changing from “Carrot” to “STICK”

By Brent Sauser



DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU!  CLICK HERE to read the article from “”, written by Susan Jones on January 13, 2014. 

For several years now the government, whether at the federal or state level, has offered financial incentives to invest in energy efficient systems.  Although carrot-with-stick 02many incentives are still active (i.e. Federal incentive for renewable energy installations through 2016), many more are no longer available.  Financial incentives for reducing our energy consumption “footprint” is a positive motivation . . . or “carrot”.   In many ways, this method could be considered successful due to the many thousands that have taken advantage of the financial “carrot”. 

However, with some “carrots” come the eventual and predictable “STICK”, especially when it comes to our federal government.  At first, the “STICK” may be sold as another “carrot” or in this case, another way to access energy usage and provide corrective suggestions.  It may even be sold as a harmless, voluntary program meant to help improve our energy efficiency.  The attached article reveals a new method from the Department of Energy (DOE) to rate the energy efficiency of homes.  The DOE calls it “The Home Energy Scoring Tool”.  This tool is similar to a carrot-with-stick 06vehicle’s mile-per-gallon rating.  On a score of 1 -10, a high rating reflects high energy efficiency, while a low score demonstrates the opposite.  The DOE states that the Home Energy Scoring Tool can be a powerful motivator in getting homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements.   NO KIDDING!  The DOE continues, “The scores serve as an official way to document these improvements and thereby enhance your home’s appeal when you’re ready to sell”.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  What about those who have saddled themselves with huge homes, with a lot of square footage and volume?  You better believe that SIZE MATTERS with this rating system.  With more square footage and volume you need more energy to heat and cool, unless of course you incorporate the suggestions provided as a result of the home energy survey that, by the way, you will have to pay for as a result of this new DOE system. 

carrot-with-stick 03Right now it is being introduced as voluntary and appears harmless.  Time will tell if and when it becomes a mandatory requirement, and if and when the “official” rating results in additional fees for excessive energy consumption.  You need to ask yourself, “How energy efficient am I, and how can I become more energy compliant?” is here to help answer these questions.   Whether we like it or not, the energy usage “screws” are being tightened on us all .  

Building Net Zero can no longer be placed in the “nice to have” category, only to be value engineered out of the construction budget.  The writing is on the wall for all to see.  Invest in building Net Zero now and keep the savings in your pocket, or open your wallet to never-ending, escalating energy usage fees in the
future.  This choice needs to be a “no brainer”. 

carrot-with-stick 04Once you have read the attached article, I am confident that you will see how this “carrot” can easily be converted to a “STICK” that will impact all of us.  We don’t need to build bigger.  We need to build smarter!  Building Net Zero will get us there.


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Category: Editorial
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