Housing Complex

DDOE Has Something to Say

In response to a post this morning about solar rebates, the District Department of the Environment sent over this note:

DDOE would like to clarify the record with respect to your article, “Solar Rebates Slashed Again, Jeopardizing Fragile Progress.” DDOE invited Ms. Schoolman and other solar advocates to assure them of the DDOE’s strong support of the city’s Renewable Energy Incentives Program (REIP), to offer a venue where residents could ask hard questions and get straight answers, and equally importantly, to find common ground on which to partner, move forward, and find ways to continue this important program during these tough economic times.

The District’s REIP is currently the most generous solar incentive program in the country, providing large incentives to relatively few residents, while other jurisdictions provide lower incentive amounts to allow funding a larger number of projects. Unfortunately, to help restore the District’s financial health, the REIP, like many other programs, was reduced in FY’11. The DC Council, DDOE and all District agencies are forced to make tough choices that allow fewer dollars to go further. In addition to the REIP, DDOE, through the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund (SETF), also funds low income weatherization programs, low income heating assistance,  and the Saving Energy in DC Schools program. Despite severe financial pressures, Director Tulou has worked hard to protect REIP funding levels.  The decision to restore REIP funding rests not with DDOE, but with the DC City Council that must authorize additional funding. DDOE is committed to working with our City Council and the Mayor as they consider how to move forward find the funding necessary to support the 56  applicants already pre-approved to receive solar rebates.

There is no question that Director Tulou led a frank discussion at this meeting and shared his ideas to continue the District’s progress in this field once the REIP program sunsets after FY’12. Ultimately, the District will most benefit if all parties sit down together in the spirit of cooperation and fiscal responsibility with the goal of finding innovative ways to continue and develop the District’s leadership in energy efficiency and climate responsibility. By working together—as one city—we all can and will provide the necessary vision and leadership to reach this goal.

– Donna Henry, Public Information Officer, District Department of the Environment

  • W Jordan

    It will be interesting to see it the city will cut low income engergy programs to fund the solar program with primarily is a darling of some upper income folk. The irony of course is funding which could have gone to support such programs was used in affect to bailout Luxury Condo Developers with tax abatements.

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  • Mike Madden

    Well, they might not need to cut anything if the council put the $800,000 that wasn't spent last year back into this year's REIP budget.

  • Dan Maceda

    Question for Director Toulou. How many low income homes have been weatherized at what cost? Just what is involved in those weatherizations?

  • whoa_now

    This is kind of bogus. DDOE mismanaged the program. They had plenty of people in the pipeline- waiting list and pending final approval- to use all the funds alloted..but because of inefficiencies within DDOE, just plain laziness, or whatever, they left money lying around..you can't do that in DC, others are going to see it and want to spend it..DDOE fully approved something like 134 applications for solar in FY10...FY10 funds should go to all the approved applications..however because DDOE counldn't get the money out the door fast enough, DC wants to screw something like 55 of the APPROVED applications. These approved folks now have to wait and see if their is funding in FY12. Because you have to have a signed contract to be approved..many will be left holding the bag, after being promised funds. This doesn't even mention the waiting list. Simply put, had DDOE been managed better and had the granted the money in a more efficient manner, DC would not be able to grab money from this trust fund and use if for other stuff. This is DDOE failure.

  • http://www.ddoe.dc.gov Donna Henry

    Dan, thank you for your questions. As of December 15, 2010 the District has weatherized 645 units (292 multi-family units and 353 single family low-income homes). Thus far, $3,949,085.07 has been spent, an additional $1M is owed to Community-based organizations (CBOs) – subcontracted to oversee day-to-day operations of weatherization projects -- on a reimbursement basis, and $3,139,936.93 remains. DDOE will continue to weatherize homes as long as funds last to meet or exceed the required goal of 785, if the actual amount spent per household is below $6,500. An average of $6,122 has been spent per home thus far.

    What's involved in these weatherization projects? For BUILDING SHELL MEASURES -- Insulation in walls, floors, ceilings, attics, and foundations; repair or replacement primary windows and door; blower door-directed air sealing of the building shell, including Air Sealing Infiltration Reduction; Attic Insulation and Venting; Basement, Floor and Crawlspace Insulation; and Caulking and Weather-stripping. For MECHANICAL MEASURES -- Furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, and vented space heaters can be cleaned, tuned-up, repaired or replaced; Replacement of burners, furnaces, or boilers or any combination thereof; Energy Star programmable thermostats; and Central air conditioners, window air conditioners, heat pumps, and evaporative coolers can be cleaned, tuned-up, repaired or replaced.

    I hope this information is helpful.

  • LOL

    I agree with whoa_now. This is a failure by DDOE. I can see that Lydia's story hit a nerve by the responses above. DDOE's tone is very defensive. Almost adversarial.