Welcome to NEEM News, Utility Edition
Welcome to the inaugural issue of NEEM News, directed to the NEEM Program’s utility partners. As you may know, the Northwest Energy-Efficient Manufactured Housing Program (NEEM) is the independent third-party certification body that works with all nine manufactured home builders in Idaho, Oregon and Washington to certify homes as ENERGY STAR and now also as ENERGY STAR with NEEM+. The NEEM program is the longest running program of its type, anywhere in the country, and it has certified over 150,000 homes to date. For those of you who are new to the program, the following is a very brief history.
The NEEM Program grew out of pioneering work begun in 1987 by the Bonneville Power Administration and the region’s state energy offices in partnership with the manufactured housing industry to develop energy efficiency specifications. The Manufactured Housing Acquisition Program (MAP) resulted from that work, and it was the region’s first experience with “purchasing energy conservation” from an industry. MAP paid incentives to the factories to build all their homes to the MAP specs. MAP ran from mid-1992 to mid-1995. By the time MAP ended, $100 million in incentives had been paid, and over 50,000 homes had been built and sited around the region, delivering over 20 aMW of long-lived energy savings. The levelized cost of conservation was on the order of $0.02 per kWh saved.
The NEEM Program was established to continue the public-private partnership as a market driven venture, administered by the state energy offices (until it was spun-off in 2010 to Northwest Energy Works). The MAP specs were branded as Super Good Cents (and Natural Choice for gas-heated homes). The factories support program operations by paying a certification fee for each home built under the program. BPA’s C&RD program (the early incarnation of today’s Implementation Manual) included measures for NEEM-certified manufactured homes. NEEA supported the program by engaging with utilities to encourage them to make use of the NEEM measures and offer purchase incentives. NEEM has proven itself as a successful market-driven and industry funded program that has enjoyed a solid 50-plus percent market share for the past ten years.
In 1999, the NEEM Program signed a partnership agreement with the EPA to become recognized as a Quality Assurance Provider in order to qualify homes to earn the ENERGY STAR. By 2004, the NEEM program transitioned away from Super Good Cents and exclusively branded homes as ENERGY STAR.
Local utilities are important NEEM Program partners. By promoting NEEM ENERGY STAR and NEEM+ certification and offering home purchase incentives, utility conservation programs provide credibility akin to a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” that helps home retailers present energy efficiency to buyers. The NEEM program annually surveys utilities to compile a list of incentives and distributes it to retailers throughout the northwest. With 92 utility service districts offering incentives for the purchase of NEEM-certified homes (and 32 utilities offering higher incentives for NEEM+), retailers can confidently discuss the value of ENERGY STAR and utility incentives with their customers. Utilities help drive energy efficiency in manufactured home sales just by having an incentive in place and being on the list. We thank you for partnering with the NEEM Program!
Future editions of NEEM News will take a look at how utilities structure their incentive programs, new technologies making their way into the industry and other ways to influence energy efficiency in manufactured homes. Please share this post with your colleagues and sign up to stay on the NEEM News mailing list. The NEEM team would love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to contact us.