Richard Faesy: Clean Heat Standard is Vermont’s best solution to climate change

This commentary is from Richard Faesy, secretary of the Building Performance Professionals Association of Vermont.

The Building Performance Professionals Association is Vermont’s trade association for home performance contractors. We build new homes and renovate existing homes, always with a focus on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. Many of us have been doing this work for decades.

We focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, electrification and green building materials, not only because they are good for the environment, but also because they are good for our customers. It reduces their energy bills and their exposure to wildly fluctuating fossil fuel prices while increasing the comfort and sustainability of their homes.

Unfortunately, many Vermonters cannot afford the initial investment needed to make such conversions to less expensive, less risky, more comfortable and healthier homes. This is partly because the cost of heating oil, propane and other fossil fuels does not reflect their true cost, including the damage they are already causing to the global climate.

There is currently a bill in the Legislature that would address this issue. This is called the clean heat standard. The Clean Heat Standard would require fossil fuel companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, with reductions increasing over time at a rate necessary for the state to meet the emission reduction commitments it has made in the Global Warming Solutions Act 2020 (40% by 2030, net zero by 2050).

Importantly, the clean heat standard would provide fossil fuel companies with a range of options to reduce their emissions, from helping to pay for the cost of weathering homes or installing heat pumps. electric heat for cold climates to the sale of more renewable biofuels. The Clean Heat Standard would assign each of these measures – and many more – greenhouse gas reduction credit values ​​based on their benefits in reducing carbon emissions throughout the heating cycle. life. Any contractor or retailer who sells a clean heat product would then be able to benefit from selling the clean heat credits associated with that product to fossil fuel companies.

These benefits would most likely appear in the form of significant additional financial incentives for owners who purchase our products and services.

In other words, the environmental benefits of the work we’ve been doing for years will—for the first time—have economic value. This means that we will be able to offer insulation, air sealing, heat pumps and other clean energy services to new customers at a lower cost. healthier homes.

The Clean Heat Standard will also require fossil fuel companies to pay in full for many low-income customers to realize these benefits, allowing our industry to serve customers we have never been able to serve. Of course, this will also mean that we will be able to hire, train and pay decent wages to a number of new employees.

Many environmental leaders and organizations call the clean heat standard the most impactful climate policy the state has ever considered. Importantly, it may also be the most effective energy cost reduction strategy the state has considered and one of the most important economic development policies the state has considered. It really is a win-win.

Please join us in supporting this bill.

Teresa H. Sadler