We’ve been waiting for this good news for years.
Recently, Duke Energy announced that they were expanding their generous rebate for new energy efficient homes into all North Carolina’s Duke Energy Carolinas service territories. Participating builders can earn up to $6,000 per home.
This is excellent news, as the Duke Energy Progress Residential New Construction HERO + HERS rebate, or “DEP RNC HERO rebate” as you might have heard it referred to, has been a great way to help builders in Duke Energy Progress’ service territory earn money for new homes with energy efficiency practices that make a difference for the end user’s energy costs AND reduce the demands of growth on our region’s power grid. Previously, however, that program was only an option for those building under Duke Energy Progress service territory, which includes most of Asheville and Buncombe County, but excludes large swaths of many other counties in our region. (See a map of the different Duke service territories here.) This expansion means that the program is now available for homes in much of Henderson, McDowell, Rutherford, Transylvania, and Polk Counties, as well as a good chunk of the entire NC Piedmont. Energy advocates have been pushing for this expansion for years, and we are pleased to see the announcement that it has finally arrived.
The monetary value of this rebate is variable, calculated based on energy savings calculated using an energy model developed by Duke but based on the HERS Score–but is not chump change to a typical builder. According to Duke, the estimated average rebate an all-electric home under this new program expansion is $2,303, which can more than offset the cost of hiring a HERS Rater (and participating in Green Built Homes!)
The DEP Rebate program is one of two possible energy efficiency related pre-requisites written into our own Green Built Homes program. (The other allowable path being to certify under the Energy Star for Homes program version 3.0. ) In addition to giving a monetary reward directly to builders for things that tend to give points on the Green Built Homes checklist anyway, the RNC program is a little bit more flexible to achieve than Energy Star 3.0, making it an attractive option for Green Built Homes builders.
Builders of projects in Duke Energy Carolinas service territory can begin registering their projects for rebates starting in August or 2022, and any home permitted after 1/7/2022 would be eligible. As Duke continues to put the word out, expect to get more links and reminders from us to sign up!
What can our builders do now to get ready?
- Sign up here to be a participant in the program—you have to have an account within the program portal to participate, and you don’t have to have any active projects just to be signed up. (In our experience it can take a little time to get the paperwork done through Duke so best to go ahead and get started.)
- If you haven’t already, start a relationship with a certified Energy Rater. Just like for the Green Built Homes program, participating in the RNC HERO+HERS program requires hiring a third-party Energy Rater to inspect the home, build the energy model, and make sure you are meeting program requirements. (That same Rater can also certify your home to Green Built Homes while doing the same inspections.)
- Spread the word, especially to your customers, colleagues, and friends in Duke Carolinas territory. In our own WNC region this includes much of Henderson, Rutherford and McDowell counties, regions where a lot of us build, as well as much of the Piedmont of North Carolina. Tell them about the amazing rebate checks you’ve been given for building homes that deliver energy savings!
- Sign up to build a Green Built Home. Since the RNC program is one of energy two pre-requisites to Green Built Homes, building to that standard puts you well on your way toward a comprehensively certified Green Built Home. Once you have your energy pre-requisite down, many other measures on the Green Built Homes checklist offer points toward higher levels of certification, and yet represent practices that bring value to the home, further reduce energy use and increase s sustainability, and may be popular things you are already doing. As our program continues to grow, we can continue to be an example for the rest of North Carolina.