What Would Build Back Better or the Parts That Pass Mean for Heat Pump Owners

Build Back Better (BBB), in its 2021 form, does not have the votes to pass. However, there is a discussion for a pared-down or piecemeal version of some of the legislation’s green-oriented and social welfare parts.

Several of BBB’s constituent parts involve heating and cooling technologies, including heat pumps, but not all the proposed funds were earmarked for homeowners and consumers.

For example, the Rebuild America’s Schools Grant included $40 billion that would go towards things like “energy efficiency and climate resiliency,” as well as projects that would improve indoor air quality. The grant for schools would have put a lot of money in the pockets of HVAC contractors (not necessarily customers).

Another grant, the Home On-Line Performance-Based Energy Efficiency (HOPE) grant, would have given half a billion dollars to nonprofits to train workers (namely workers in the heating and cooling industry) on home energy efficiency upgrades. This grant would not have much of an impact on home heating and cooling consumers other than it might make HVAC companies better at selling things like insulation, solar-powered fixtures, and heat pumps.

Section 30412 – the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program

This part of the initial proposed BBB legislation would have given the U.S. Department of Energy $6 billion to provide rebates to homeowners for qualifying energy efficiency projects, including heat pump installation. Although the fate of BBB makes the program’s future questionable, Maine residents still qualify for a diverse array of energy efficiency rebates through DOE, Efficiency Maine, and heat pump manufacturers. You can find a list of current Maine and DOE energy efficiency programs and financial incentives here.

Homeowner Rebates in BBB

Although a lot of the dollars proposed in Build Back Better would have gone to HVAC companies and not homeowners, there was at least some money for the average citizen. Namely, the Home Owner Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) Rebate program would have given money to each state’s energy office to distribute to residents who invested in qualifying efficiency improvements.

HOMES were drafted to ensure only certain approved, certified HVAC contractors could participate, and only if they were performing qualified home energy retrofitting projects. Homeowners who hired approved contractors to perform qualifying retrofits would be eligible to receive varying rebates based on the estimated energy their project would save:

  • $800 for adding qualifying insulation
  • $1,500 for making the insulation improvements and modifying or replacing their HVAC system with a qualified energy-saving option (like a heat pump)
  • $2,000 for retrofitting that results in a 20 to 35 percent drop in energy consumption
  • $2,500 for making the insulation improvements and installing either an air-source or ground-source heat pump
  • $4,000 for retrofits that result in a 35 percent decrease in energy consumption
  • Moderate-income families could potentially receive double the rebate
  • Energy saving rebates for homeowners who can prove they cut their energy costs by 15 percent

The HOPE for HOMES Act, which combines HOPE and HOME, has been introduced and reintroduced for years, and getting rolled into Build Back Better was only the most recent effort. Officially, it’s been stalled in both the U.S. House and Senate since May 20, 2021.

Maine Homeowners Can Already Qualify for Rebates and Credits

You don’t have to wait for the federal government to act to take advantage of energy savings. Maine residents already have access to many heat pump rebates through Efficiency Maine. Valley Home Services installs mini-split heat pumps designed to operate efficiently in Maine’s climate, and we regularly help our clients take advantage of the best heat pump rebates and promotions available.

Contact our team today at (800) 316-7815 to learn how you can qualify for great heat pump installation rebates. We’d also be happy to explain why using mini-split heat pumps, and zoned heating and cooling is excellent for both your home’s energy efficiency and the environment.