GAO: Home Energy Assistance for Low-Income Occupants of Manufactured Homes
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the nation's approximately 130 million housing units account for about 23 percent of total energy consumption in the United States. Approximately 2 million of these housing units are manufactured homes (i.e., mobile homes) that were built prior to 1976, when new standards for energy efficient construction became effective. These older manufactured homes are generally considered to have some of the poorest energy efficiency of all housing units.
Questions have been raised about whether improving the energy efficiency of older manufactured homes or replacing them with newer, more energy-efficient models would save the federal government money by reducing LIHEAP costs. A portion of LIHEAP funds can be used to improve the energy efficiency of these homes but, in many cases, because of the ways these homes were built and their sometimes poor condition, improving their energy efficiency cannot be accomplished cost effectively. LIHEAP funds are statutorily prohibited from being used for new construction, which includes replacing existing homes. Report.
GAO: Energy Conservation and Climate Change: Factors to Consider in the Design of the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit
The nonbusiness energy property credit is one of a number of federal initiatives that seek to address concerns about U.S. reliance on foreign energy sources and the impact of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on the climate. Enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the nonbusiness energy property credit was intended to increase homeowners’ investment in energy conserving improvements by reducing their after-tax costs. The credit is calculated as a percentage of qualified spending on such improvements as insulation systems, exterior windows and metal roofs up to a maximum claimable credit. The maximum credit was set at $500 in 2006 and 2007, raised to $1,500 in 2009 and 2010, and lowered back to $500 in 2011.
This report compiles and expands upon information previously presented to Congress in response to congressional request, which asked us to examine factors relating to the nonbusiness energy property credit. To address the request, we (1) evaluated factors to consider in deciding whether the credit should be cost-based or performance-based; and (2) estimated how requiring that only spending above a minimum amount be eligible for the credit, or introducing a base amount for the 2009 credit may have affected measures such as the amount of credit claimed, the revenue cost to the federal government, and incentives for taxpayers to increase their spending on energy efficiency improvements. Report.