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Van Hollen Hosts Rally with Mfume, Mayor Scott, President Ferguson, Maryland Workers, Homeowners, and Advocates to Highlight Inflation Reduction Act Provisions to Lower Energy Costs, Create Jobs, & Combat Climate Change

Government and Politics

August 16, 2022


Van Hollen-authored provisions included in landmark bill

On Monday, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) was joined by Congressman Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.), Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson as well as Maryland homeowners, workers, healthy housing and climate advocates, and state and local officials in Baltimore to highlight the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and key provisions the Senator secured from his HOPE for HOMES legislation which will help homeowners make energy efficiency upgrades to their homes and cut their monthly energy costs. During the event, the Senator discussed how these provisions will stimulate the energy efficiency market to create jobs and support suppliers, invest in workforce training for this crucial industry, and combat the climate crisis by promoting clean, energy efficient technology. Having passed both the Senate and the House last week, the Inflation Reduction Act is expected to be signed by President Biden later today.

“Too many Americans face monthly home energy bills that strain their pocketbooks. That’s why I authored the HOPE for HOMES Act, a common-sense bill to lower home heating and cooling costs while creating jobs and tackling the ongoing climate crisis. I am pleased to report that we included key parts of this bill in the Inflation Reduction Act, including measures to provide consumers with large rebates to help them pay the upfront costs of making their homes more energy efficient. Those home improvements are projected to save homeowners up to $750 every year on their energy bills. This measure is a win-win-win: it will save homeowners money, generate more good-paying jobs, and help confront the climate crisis by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I was proud to stand alongside Maryland homeowners and workers who are set to benefit from this historic victory and celebrate our efforts to get this transformative legislation across the finish line,” said Senator Van Hollen.

Today, Marylanders spend, on average, $260 on gas and electricity every single month. Homeowners can lower their energy bills by upgrading their appliances and installing high-quality insulation, among other improvements, but these upgrades can often be prohibitively expensive for many homeowners. Modeled off of provisions authored by Senator Van Hollen and included in his HOPE for HOMES legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act provides $4.3 billion for home energy performance-based rebates, supporting homeowners’ ability to reduce their energy costs. To ensure the program is accessible to all homeowners, low-and-moderate income (LMI) households receive increased rebates. An analysis by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) concluded that the average household making the most comprehensive upgrades can save up to $750 annually on their energy bills.

Senator Van Hollen’s HOPE for HOMES provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act also provide for investments in clean energy job training programs so that there is a workforce ready to help install energy-efficient upgrades in homes. The legislation includes $200 million to help companies pay their contractors to undertake online training to advance their understanding of home performance. Contracting jobs are inherently local, and most residential contracting companies are small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. The Inflation Reduction Act will spur the creation of a highly trained local contractor workforce that cannot be outsourced. It will also generate jobs up the supply chain in manufacturing, distribution, and retail sales of energy efficient technologies and products. A 2021 E4theFuture analysis of the policy estimated it would support 83,000 jobs over the next few years. Additional details on the Senator’s HOPE for HOMES provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act can be viewed here.

“The Inflation Reduction Act delivers on my commitment to combatting climate change while subsequently lowering homeowners’ energy costs and creating jobs,” said Congressman Kweisi Mfume. “Included in this legislation are investments of over $60 billion in environmental justice priorities focused on serving disadvantaged communities and making sure that the air we breathe is safe no matter where you live or the job you have. For the sake of our grandkids and theirs, we must continue to take action to preserve our environment, and the Inflation Reduction Act is a groundbreaking step forward on this endeavor.”

“This is a win-win for our planet and our communities and something that aligns directly with my administration’s vision for Clean and Healthy Communities and equitable economic growth throughout Baltimore,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “We are showing the world that America will not continue down the path of environmental harm and our residents that protecting the planet for future generations can also help save them money.”

“This is what it looks like when you have a concerted effort at every level of government to address the climate crisis,” said Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson. “That’s why I am proud to work with federal and local leaders on the most important issue of our generation.”

“The HOPE for HOMES provision of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is a landmark legislative achievement. This bill incentivizes energy efficiency upgrades to homeowners while cutting monthly energy usage and cost. It stimulates the energy efficiency market for jobs and suppliers, invest in workforce training for this crucial industry and combat the climate crisis by promoting clean, energy efficient technology. As we look to tackle the global climate change, one of our best tools in mitigating our CO2 emissions is improving energy efficiency in American homes. Not only will this reduce energy cost for Marylanders, it will reduce our energy consumption across the board. Addressing the climate emergency is not just a challenge, it is also an opportunity to create jobs and save Americans money. The Hope for Home Act allows homeowners to be part of the solution by providing them rebates to invest in energy efficiency improvements while providing the security of a cleaner healthier home,” said Delegate Benjamin Brooks (D-SD-10).

Homeowners, healthy housing and climate advocates, and members of the home contracting small business community who joined Senator Van Hollen discussed how the legislation will benefit residents, workers, small businesses, and our environment:

“Through the historic enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act we will finally have the resources necessary to address the challenges of environmental injustice, unhealthy housing and climate change at scale in our most historically disinvested communities across this nation and create a better pathway to health, opportunity and racial equity. These long overdue actions will enable us to create healthier homes, to expand the use of clean energy to lower dangerous carbon emissions, and open up significant pathways to employment for residents of low-wealth neighborhoods. These investments will lower energy and home maintenance costs for families, and will produce health savings from the avoided costs from housing-related environmental deficiencies. We will also be able to help those who do not qualify for traditional grants to access necessary home retrofits through rebates thanks to Senator Van Hollen’s HOPE for HOMES Act. We will use this as momentum to continue our fight for a more just climate and energy reality,” said Ruth Ann Norton, President and CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative.

“The mission of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative is to address the social determinants of health, opportunity and racial equity through the creation of healthier homes.   The Inflation Reduction Act will dramatically equip us to pursue this mission and allow us to provide healthier and more equitable futures for our most vulnerable children, families, and seniors.  We applaud Senator Chris Van Hollen, Senator Ben Cardin and the members of the Maryland Congressional delegation that voted to support our generation’s most important advancements in tackling climate change, community resilience, and health,” said Joy Thomas Moore, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative.

“I’ve been a proud Baltimore homeowner for 45 years, and like many families – and seniors like me – I have moderate income with limited room for big expenses. When I was looking for ways to save on my utility bills, I partnered with Green & Healthy Homes. They didn’t only look at my doors and windows during the energy audit, they also helped me understand how to look for better appliances that use less energy and water. I will be saving money thanks to their help, and I’m grateful to Senator Van Hollen and all the federal and state lawmakers who are making it possible for everyday people to save money and be responsible homeowners when it comes to energy use,” said Diane Adams, a Baltimore City homeowner and Green & Healthy Homes Initiative customer.

“The HOPE for HOMES legislation provides important consumer rebates to help homeowners at all income levels save energy and carbon emissions through energy efficiency home retrofits. These energy efficiency measures will not only make homes more comfortable and affordable, but they will support a more resilient grid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time this bill aims to provide important grants to small business contractors to off-set the cost of training needed to expand their workforce and provide these home upgrades,” said Kara Saul Rinaldi, Vice President of Government Affairs, Policy, and Programs, Building Performance Association.

“The HOPE for HOMES program is unique because it’s an opportunity for everyone in Maryland,” said Tony Crane, Co-Owner and Manager of Efficient Home LLC, a weatherization and home performance contractor. “Not only will every homeowner have the chance to make improvements throughout their home – including those with moderate and low incomes – the funding for training programs will enable small businesses like mine to bring on trained, skilled labor so we can grow our companies. I think Senator Van Hollen’s program will help motivate more people to pursue energy efficiency upgrades, lift a big cost burden off of families, and move us in the right direction toward addressing our climate challenges.”

Overall, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will make a historic down payment on deficit reduction to fight inflation, invest in domestic energy production and manufacturing, and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030. The bill will also finally allow Medicare to negotiate for prescription drug prices and extend the expanded Affordable Care Act program for three years, through 2025. Additionally, the agreement calls for comprehensive Permitting reform legislation to be passed before the end of the fiscal year. Permitting reform is essential to unlocking domestic energy and transmission projects, which will lower costs for consumers and help us meet our long-term emissions goals.