State and Local Policy Database


State Scorecard Rank



36.5Scored out of 50Updated 12/2022
State Government
Score: 4 out of 4.5
State Government Summary List All

The state offers several incentives for energy-efficient investments. The state government leads by example by requiring energy-efficient public buildings and fleets, benchmarking energy use in public buildings, and encouraging energy savings performance contracting. Research focused on efficient vehicles is conducted at the University of Vermont Smart Grid Research Center.

Financial Incentives List All

The state of Vermont offers the following financial incentives to encourage energy efficiency improvements:

  • Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) Sustainable Energy Loan Fund: The program enables VEDA “to make loans and provide other forms of financing for projects that stimulate and encourage development and deployment of sustainable energy projects in the State of Vermont.” The fund provides four loan products (Small Business Energy Loan Program, Commercial Energy Loan Program, Agriculture Energy Loan Program, and Energy Loan Guarantee Program).
  • Weatherization Trust Fund: The program provides long term state funding for weatherization through a one-half percent gross receipts tax on all non-transportation fuels sold in the state.
  • Heat Saver Loan Program: This low-interest loan is for Vermonters who want to weatherize their homes and install efficient heating systems. The loans can be used for high efficiency oil or propane furnaces, cold-climate heat pumps, central wood pellet systems, solar domestic hot water systems, or weatherization improvements.

Further financial incentive information can be found in the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE Vermont). In addition to these state-funded incentives, Vermont has enabled commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, but it does not have any active programs. For additional information on PACE, visit PACENation.

Last Reviewed: June 2022

Equity Metrics and Workforce DevelopmentList All

The Global Warming Solutions Act passed in 2020 requires the preparation of Vermont Climate Action Plan (‘the Plan’) by December 1, 2021. The Vermont Climate Council (VCC), created by Global Warming Solutions Act of 2020, has taken a unique and targeted approach to community engagement with traditionally marginalized and impacted communities as it seeks to develop Vermont's Climate Action Plan (CAP). The Council, through the Just Transitions subcommittee, is working in coordination with consultants to "co-create" a public engagement plan with Vermont communities, particularly focused on those most impacted. This process is currently underway. The co-creation process aims to both engage with communities that are typically not engaged well and develop the public engagement plan for the VCC CAP process. This strategy will utilize multiple communication mediums to engage these communities and the public at large, including interviews, focus groups and round tables, and online surveys and polling platforms. In particular, the process will begin with 15 one-on-one interviews and two roundtables of community leaders (one BIPOC specific affinity space) to inform the development of public engagement plan. The Department of Public Service (PSD), assisted by other state agencies, is also in the process of writing the state's Comprehensive Energy Plan (which occurs every six years). The PSD is working closely with the VCC and their consultants to coordinate on this stakeholder engagement, so as to not overburden communities and make sure insights from the process are incorporated into both plans.

All VT EEU's have low-income sector minimum spending requirements. Additionally, Efficiency Vermont has conducted a statewide energy burden study to determine the areas of the state with the highest energy burdens for targeting efficiency programs. Distribution utilities, which operate Renewable Energy Standard Tier 3 programs for fossil fuel reduction, must achieve equity in all sectors, including low-income, in measure/programs offerings. Programs include incentives for CCHPs, weatherization, and Electric Vehicles. Numerous other efforts are underway to develop tools to help further evaluate how initiatives are affecting marginalized groups. The State of Vermont has developed an Equity Impact Assessment tool to help agencies evaluate policies across numerous dimensions - such as which communities will benefit from policies, how adverse impacts will be mitigated, community engagement and consultation, and the metrics and data required to track or evaluate the program. The VCC through their Just Transitions subcommittee is also in the process of developing a series of guiding principles for a just transition, including a series of questions and draft equity scoring rubric, to help the VCC evaluate potential recommendations for inclusion in the Climate Action Plan.

Workforce Development

The 2022 VT CEP identifies Weatherization workforce development as a critical component to address to meet energy goals. The General Assembly directed funds in 2021 for Efficiency Vermont to begin to specifically address workforce issues that relate to weatherization. Once workers are available, they must be properly trained; if the weatherization is not done properly, energy savings will not materialize. For example, the Weatherization Assistance Program subsidizes the first three months of employment in recognition of the initial training needs.

Last Reviewed: July 2021

Carbon Pricing PoliciesList All

Vermont is a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program for reducing GHG emissions in North America that began its compliance period in 2009. Capping CO2 emissions from the power sector, the program aims to reduce emissions by 45% below 2005 levels by 2020 and additionally by 30% by 2030.

Vermont is also a participant in the Transportation and Climate Initiative’s effort to develop a cap-and-invest program for transportation emissions.

Per 10 V.S.A. § 578, (2016) Comprehensive Energy Plan, Vermont does have a non-binding statewide emissions reduction goal in place, specifically to reduce emissions 80% by 2050 (baseline year 1990).

Last Reviewed: September 2022

Building Energy Disclosure List All

Act 89 of 2013 requires the establishment of a working group to develop building energy disclosure tools for both residential and commercial buildings. The single-family residential disclosure tool and label are complete and will be rolled out for use by the state efficiency programs (including the state low-income weatherization program) starting this year. In 2014, a multi-family and commercial building working group identified the EPA Portfolio Manager as the tool to be used for disclosure. This Working Group will continue to meet to develop and launch the use of a label as well.  By Dec 15, 2016, the Public Service Department is required to submit a report to the legislature with an update on the effectiveness of the voluntary disclosure and labeling efforts, including a recommendation on whether building energy disclosure should be made mandatory. In addition, the Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) requested that the Public Service Board open a proceeding to address customer energy usage data aggregation to assist with benchmarking of buildings with multiple tenants. In coordination with DPS, the Commercial Building Energy Working Group filed recommendations to require data aggregation and release of aggregated data for buildings with more than four tenants. The VT General Assembly passed H. 63, which has new Building energy disclosure requirements and re-establishes the Residential and Commercial Building Energy Labeling Working Groups. As of May 2019, this bill had not yet been sent to the Governor for action.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Public Building Requirements List All

The 2021 State Agency Energy Plan, part of the Comprehensive 2022 State Energy Plan, establishes the following goals: 1) reducing total energy consumption by 40% by 2025, and by 50% by 2035; 2) meeting 35% of the remaining energy need from renewable sources by 2025, and 45% by 2035; and 3) achieving 40% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2030. The plan also encourages all Vermont State Agencies to track and benchmark state-owned and operated buildings' energy use using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager. To meet the SAEP's goals for reductions in total energy consumption, state agencies must improve electric and heating efficiency within state buildings (especially those that are state-owned, but also those that are leased), in addition to conserving more energy through changes in practices. In total, these gains in efficiency and conservation should reduce fuel usage by 15% by 2030, to support progress in meeting the state's overall energy use reduction goal. Funding is available for energy retrofits through the State Energy Management Program (SEMP). VT Buildings and General Services currently considers meeting the energy standards necessary to secure the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification, on all new construction projects.

BGS is statutorily required to utilize lifecycle cost analysis when considering the use of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, and thermal energy conservation in any new building construction or major renovation project in excess of $250,000.

The State shall consider buildings with LEED Certification, Energy Star Certification or Efficiency Vermont’s High Performance Building designation when entering into a new lease space that is greater than 5,000 square feet and the total term of the lease is five or more years. The leasing agent must consider these criteria unless there is no space available that will meet these criteria and the program needs of the agency including, emergency relocation and geographical requirements. If the needs of the tenant require a space that does not meet these energy standards, the lease agreement will include an arrangement between the landlord and BGS to create an implementation plan for energy efficiency and energy conservation measures and consider renewable energy usage and generation to improve the overall efficiency of the building.

When entering into a new lease agreement or amending an existing lease agreement in which BGS will not be responsible for paying the utility bills, the lease agreement will reflect the landlord’s responsibility to make all energy usage data available to BGS for the term of the lease. BGS will reserve the right to sub-meter in multi-tenant spaces to obtain State only energy usage data if it is beneficial to the State.

Last Reviewed: June 2022

Fleets List All

As part of the Vermont Action Plan associated with the multi-state ZEV MOU, the state will “establish goals to ensure that a minimum of 25 percent of new light-duty state fleet purchases and leases, for applicable uses, will be ZEVs by 2025.”

Electrifying the state fleet addresses a key priority in Vermont's Zero Emission Vehicle Action Plan and in a Multistate Zero Emissions Vehicle Plan that Vermont has committed to help implement. These initiatives are fully described in the Comprehensive Energy Plan. Since 2007, Fleet Management Services has been purchasing plug-in hybrid vehicles for the motor pool. As of 2019, 25% of the vehicles in the state's central motor pool were all electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; 28 of the 142 vehicles were EVs. While the overall number of vehicles has increased, the total number of plug-in electric vehicles has more than doubled.

State statute—23 V.S.A. § 4(85)—requires that not less than 75 percent of the vehicles purchased or leased be hybrid or plug-in electric vehicles, and the Department of Buildings and General Services has plans to upgrade EV charging capability accordingly.

Last Reviewed: June 2022

Energy Savings Performance Contracting List All

The Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS) operates the State Energy Management Program (SEMP) - its own in-house revolving loan fund for building efficiency which essentially makes the state its own ESPC contractor. In its Strategic Plan, BGS calls for using EPSCs to complete energy improvements within correctional facilities. BGS is currently entered into an ESPC with NORESCO for the Montpelier Capital Complex.

Last Reviewed: July 2020

Research & Development List All

The University of Vermont Smart Grid Research Center conducts research on the technological, human behavior, and public policy implications of smart grid technology, including its use to increase energy efficiency. 

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Score: 9 out of 12
Buildings Summary List All

The 2020 Vermont Residential Building Energy Standards (RBES) are mandatory statewide and will become effective September 1, 2020, based on the 2015 Vermont RBES language and including the IECC 2018 energy efficiency requirements as well as select language updates and additional, more stringent Vermont energy efficiency requirements. 

The 2020 Commercial Building Energy Standards (CBES) will also become effective September 1, 2020, based on the 2018 IECC and the ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016 and also includes Vermont specific additions such as more stringent envelope, mechanical, and lighting requirements as well as solar and electric vehicle infrastructure requirements.

The state is required by statute to update its codes every three years. Efficiency Vermont provides trainings to builders, town officials, and others.

Last reviewed: August 2020

Residential Codes List All

The Vermont Residential Building Energy Standards (RBES) are mandatory statewide. The current RBES became effective September 1, 2020 and is based on the 2015 Vermont RBES language and also includes all the IECC 2018 energy efficiency requirements as well as select language updates and additional, more stringent Vermont energy efficiency requirements.  The 2020 RBES include the following: improved insulation levels; improved window U-values; blower door testing required; EV charging infrastructure required for multifamily buildings of 10 or more units, and encouraged for all buildings; Solar ready design encouraged; more high efficiency lighting; and more efficient ventilation fans. The state is required by statute to update its energy codes every three years.

Act 89 of 2013 gives the Vermont Public Service Department the authority to develop stretch codes and municipalities have the option of adopting them. The state's Residential Stretch Energy Code went into effect December 1, 2015 and was updated in 2019 with a September 1, 2020 effective date.  The 2020 RBES Stretch code includes solar ready requirements and EV charging infrastructure required for single family housing and multifamily buildings of 10 or more units.  Any residential projects encompassed by Act 250 are required to comply with the Residential Stretch Code.  Both Residential Base and Stretch Energy Codes also allow renewable energy to be used to meet the target Home Energy Rating Scores for compliance. The Vermont PSD is currently in the process of updating the RBES and expect to have the new standards adopted by December, 2022 and in effect by September, 2023.

Last reviewed: June 2022 

Commercial Code List All

The Vermont Commercial Building Energy Standards is mandatory statewide. The current CBES became effective September 1, 2020 and is based on the 2018 IECC and the ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016 and also includes Vermont specific additions such as more stringent envelope, mechanical, and lighting requirements as well as solar and electric vehicle infrastructure requirements. The state is required by statute to update its energy codes every three years. The Vermont Public Service Department (PSD) is currently in the process of updating the CBES and expect to have the new standards adopted by December, 2022 and in effect by September, 2023.

Last reviewed: June 2022 

Compliance List All
  • Gap Analysis/Strategic Compliance Plan: A gap analysis and energy code compliance plan was completed for Vermont and is available on the Vermont Department of Public Service website
  • Baseline & Updated Compliance Studies: The Public Service Department (PSD) measures compliance with RBES and CBES in  Market Assessments, which were last completed in 2019 and 2017 respectively. The technical compliance rate for residential was 66% and for commercial was 90%.  Both are available at the following link. The PSD is currently in the process of updating both of these Market Assessments and hope to complete them by the summer of 2022.
  • Utility Involvement: Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric Dept. are required through their Order of Appointment to assist with providing Energy Code support (information and training).  The high level of participation in their new contruction programs, contributes significantly to the state's overall energy code compliance rate.  EVT also hosts the Energy Code Assistance Center, which distributes information on energy codes and answers builders, architects, and other contractors questions on how to meet energy code requirements. As the state's Energy Efficiency Utilities they fulfill this role in lieu of the Distributed utilities. They also provide assistance for filling out the certificates. After the state updates the energy codes they hold numerous trainings for builders, architects, and realtors on the new requirements as well as blower door certification/training.
  • Stakeholder Advisory Group: The Department of Public Service will be hiring a contractor in the upcoming fiscal year to assist with convening an advisory group.
  • Training/Outreach: Efficiency Vermont includes funding for energy code activities in their non-resource acquisition budget. Efficiency Vermont provides trainings to builders, town officials (including zoning administrators and code officials), architects, design and construction professionals, and market partners (real estate professionals, mortgage lenders, appraisers, attorneys) on energy codes requirements. This training provides a basis for improving the overall level of code compliance, understanding, and construction practice.

Last reviewed: August 2020

CHP Summary List All

The state has an interconnection standard that applies to CHP, an incentive program for CHP, and includes CHP as an eligible resource in the state's renewable energy goals. No new CHP systems were installed in Vermont in 2018.

Interconnection StandardsList All

Policy: Vermont Public Service Board Rule 5.500                               

Description: The Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) developed this interconnection rule for all distributed generation not subject to the state’s net metering rule. Rule 5.500, then, applies to all CHP systems. The PSB does not cap system size, though certain systems are eligible for a “fast track” application process. Systems not eligible for interconnection under the “fast track” mechanism are subject to additional studies and/or screening criteria.

Last Updated: September 2018

Encouraging CHP as a ResourceList All

CHP in energy efficiency standards: Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) established a statewide energy efficiency utility, Efficiency Vermont, along with a funding mechanism to support it. Efficiency Vermont is administered by Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), which is an independent, nonprofit corporation. The EEU implements that implements the state’s Energy Reduction Goals. The Order of Appointment (OOA) that describes the general responsibilities and scope of activities to be performed by the energy efficiency utility includes guidance related to project and savings eligibility for customer-sited generation including deployed CHP.

Last Updated: September 2018

Deployment IncentivesList All

Incentives, grants, or financing: Efficiency Vermont provides some financial support for CHP projects in the state, as enabled by the 2016 Order of Appointment for VEIC.

The state of Vermont offers an Investment Tax Credit for eligible CHP systems and other renewable energy equipment on business properties. The incentive for CHP is 2.4% with a maximum system size of 50 MW.

Net metering:  Vermont's original net-metering legislation was enacted in 1998, and the law has been expanded several times subsequently. Any electric customer in Vermont may net meter after obtaining a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB). An application for a Certificate of Public Good for Interconnected Net Metered Power Systems is available on the program web site listed above. Net metering is generally available to systems up to 250 kilowatts (kW) in capacity that generate electricity using micro-combined heat and power (CHP) systems up to 20 kW. CHP systems greater than 20 kW in capacity are not eligible for net metering.

Vermont also requires all distribution, sub-transmission, and transmission investments that pass initial screening to undergo review via the Vermont System Planning Committee, with recommnedations from that committee to the Public Utilities Commission as to whether non-wires alternatives are eligilbe. CHP is an eligible project to be considered. 

Last Updated: July 2019

Additional Supportive PoliciesList All

There are some additional supportive policies to encourage CHP in Vermont. The state offers a Renewable Energy Sales Tax Exemption for renewable-energy systems which also applies to micro CHP systems up to 20 kW. The state also encourages the use of renewable-fueled CHP systems and waste heat to power (WHP), which qualify under its Renewable Energy Standard, which is 55% by 2017 and rising in 3 year increments by 4% to 75% by 2032.

Last Updated: September 2018

Score: 11 out of 15
Utilities Summary List All

Vermont is and has been among the leading states for utility energy efficiency for many years and was the first to create a statewide "energy efficiency utility." Under Vermont’s 12-year "Order of Appointment" model, Efficiency Vermont, Burlington Electric Department, and Vermont Gas Systems deliver energy efficiency services to residential and business consumers throughout the state.  Energy Efficiency service include electric, natural gas, and unregulated heating-and-process-fuels.

Vermont law requires the Vermont Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to set budgets at a level that require the program administrators to realize "all reasonably available, cost-effective energy efficiency."

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Customer Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Vermont pioneered the model of a statewide "energy efficiency utility" (EEU) after enacting legislation in 1999 authorizing Vermont PUC to collect a volumetric (per kWh) charge on all electric utility customers’ bills to support energy efficiency programs, called the Energy Efficiency Charge (EEC). PUC created the EEU designation that Efficiency Vermont (EVT) and Burlington Electric Department (BED) currently operate under to invest in programs and services that save money and conserve energy. Vermont Gas Systems offers natural gas efficiency service within its territory. Natural gas efficiency programs are supported by legislation and regulation (30 V.S.A. Section 235(d); Docket No. 5270 VGS-1, 2) and began in 1993. The Vermont PUC designated it an EEU with a 12-year Order of Appointment to deliver natural gas energy efficiency services in April 2015 (see Docket 7676).

New since 2015 is the passage of Act 56 of 2015, which creates a Renewable Energy Standard in Vermont. It creates an energy transformation obligation for electric distribution utilities, in which they must produce an increasing amount of fossil fuel use reductions attributable to their customers. They may meet the obligation through the use of more efficient heating systems (such as heat pumps) or through building weatherization, or even the use of more efficient or electric vehicles. The obligations began in 2017 with an amount equivalent to 2% of the utility's sales, rising to 10% by 2032.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Last reviewed: June 2020

Energy Efficiency as a Resource List All

Vermont statute (30 VSA Sec. 218c) directs all electric and natural gas utilities to prepare and implement least cost integrated plans—plans "for meeting the public's need for energy services, after safety concerns are addressed, at the lowest present value life cycle cost, including environmental and economic costs, through a strategy combining investments and expenditures on energy supply, transmission and distribution capacity, transmission and distribution efficiency, and comprehensive energy efficiency programs." In addition, Vermont has a well-established regulatory process to factor the Energy Efficiency Utility's energy savings into utility companies' load forecasts. Vermont law requires EEU budgets to be set at a level that would realize "all reasonably available, cost-effective energy efficiency."

Last reviewed: June 2020

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards List All

Summary: Electric - Annual incremental savings totaling 357,400 MWh over 2018-2020, or approximately 2.4% of annual sales. Natural gas - Three-year annual incremental savings of 192,599 Mcf spanning 2018-2020, or 0.5% of sales.

Vermont does not have traditional EERS legislation with a set schedule of energy-savings percentages for each year. Instead, Vermont law requires EEU budgets to be set at a level that would realize "all reasonably available, cost-effective energy efficiency." Compensation and specific energy-savings levels—not “soft” goals or targets—are determined by the PUC every three years in a Demand Resource Plan proceeding. There is not an explicit penalty for non-performance. However, a portion of the compensation Vermont pays the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) parent company that oversees Efficiency Vermont as the program administrator is contingent on meeting stated goals, subject to a monitoring and verification process. If the administrator does not meet stated goals, the state will withhold compensation, and the administrator potentially will be replaced at the end of the three-year period (DSIRE 2011).

The goal-setting process has changed due to Vermont’s “order of appointment” franchise-like structure. Every three years, a “demand resources plan” proceeding will be held. The proceeding will set budgets and goals for the next 20 years, coinciding with the long-range transmission plan to allow for integration of forecasting (EEU Structure Docket 7466).

Every 6 years there is a performance review for the three EEUs to determine if each appointment should be extended for an additional 6 years.

In addition to the EEU Structure the state’s 2015 Renewable Energy Standard (Act 56) required DUs to addresses building electrification as well as fossil fuel use reduction and is comprised of three components or tiers. While Tier I and II of the RPS address renewable energy requirements, Tier III requires distribution utilities (DUs) to reduce customers’ fossil fuel use through either electrification, efficiency, fuel switching, or storage. This requirement is 2% of a DU’s annual sales starting in 2017 and increasing by 0.67% annually, reaching 12% in 2032.  This program works in conjunction with the traditional EEU programs to deliver benefits to Vermont’s ratepayers. This program operated under Vermont’s administrative rule 4.400.

June 2020

Utility Business Model List All

The majority of the state programs are operated by Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC). VEIC is eligible to receive a performance incentive for meeting or exceeding performance goals established for three-year performance cycles. For the period January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2020, VEIC can earn up to $4,543,500 for meeting electric energy savings goals and other performance goals including peak savings, and total resource benefits.

Vermont statute (30 VSA Sec. 218c) directs all electric and natural gas utilities to prepare and implement least cost integrated plans—plans "for meeting the public's need for energy services, after safety concerns are addressed, at the lowest present value life cycle cost, including environmental and economic costs, through a strategy combining investments and expenditures on energy supply, transmission and distribution capacity, transmission and distribution efficiency, and comprehensive energy efficiency programs."  In addition, Vermont has a well-established regulatory process to factor the Energy Efficiency Utility's energy savings into utility companies' load forecasts. Vermont law requires EEU budgets to be set at a level that would realize "all reasonably available, cost-effective energy efficiency."

The state's two IOUs (electric and natural gas) are decoupled through an Alternative Regulation Structure. Green Mountain Power is decoupled through a power cost adjustment and an earnings sharing mechanism. Vermont Gas is also decoupled through an earnings sharing mechanism. 

Electric cooperatives and municipal utilities are not decoupled.

Last reviewed: June 2020

Evaluation, Measurement, & Verification List All
  • Cost-effectiveness test(s) used: societal cost test 

  • Secondary cost-effectiveness test(s) used: none 

  • Uses a deemed savings database: yes (Technical Reference Manual) 

The evaluation of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs in Vermont relies on both legislative mandates (30 V.S.A. §209) and regulatory orders (Process and Administration of an Order of Appointment). Evaluations are mainly administered by the Vermont Public Service Department. There are no specific legal requirements for these evaluations in Vermont. Statewide evaluations are conducted.  

Vermont specifies the societal cost test (SCT) to be its primary test for decision making. The benefit-cost test is applied primarily at the portfolio level. The rules for benefit-cost tests are stated in 30 V.S.A. §203 and 218b and Docket No. 5980. Vermont has a DSS (Development and Support Services) category that designates funding for activities that are worthwhile but do not necessarily return quantifiable savings. According to the Database of State Efficiency Screening Practices (DSESP), Vermont’s SCT accounts for other fuel (natural gas, oil propane, kerosene, wood) and water savings, as well as avoided costs of compliance with emissions regulations and renewable energy standard requirements through monetized estimates. Vermont’s SCT also accounts for costs and benefits associated with improved public health, participant health, environmental benefits, participant comfort, economic development and jobs, energy security and others in a 15% adder.   

Further information on cost-effectiveness screening practices for Vermont is available in the Database of State Efficiency Screening Practices (DSESP), a resource of the National Efficiency Screening Project (NESP). Further information on health and environmental benefits is available in ACEEE’s Overview of State Approaches to Account for Health and Environmental Benefits of Energy Efficiency

Last reviewed: June 2020

Guidelines for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Requirements for State and Utility Support of Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

Efficiency Vermont (EVT), the state’s energy efficiency utility established in 1999, is funded through a systems benefits charge on all utility customers’ bills. Vermont requires that EVT achieve a minimum level of low-income services spending (for the 2018-2020 period the requirement is $11 million). Most of the costs of the electric efficiency measures implemented by EVT and the community-based weatherization agencies are paid for by EVT, with any remaining balances covered by the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

Other funding for WAP comes from the state’s Weatherization Trust Fund, which was created in 1990 through legislative enactment of a gross-receipts tax of 0.5% on all non-transportation fuels sold in the state. 

Cost-Effectiveness Rules for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

Vermont specifies the Social Cost Test to be its primary test for decision making. A 15% adjustment is applied to the cost-effectiveness screening tool for low-income customer programs.

Coordination of Ratepayer-Funded Low-Income Programs with WAP Services

The Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) administers the Vermont Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP), which includes both state and federal funds. OEO monitors and provides training and technical assistance to five non‐profit community Weatherization Assistance Programs. Efficiency Vermont supplements the state weatherization program with add-on measures beyond what would otherwise be included in the state- and federally-funded WAP. These measures include ENERGY STAR-qualified refrigerators, ENERGY STAR-qualified clothes washers, lighting, ventilation fans, and smart power strips. Efficiency Vermont continually assesses potential new measures to include in the scope of the add-on program and has updated its offerings to include heat pump water heaters, dehumidifiers, and mini-split heat pumps. Community Action Program agencies offer these measures as a part of the same program delivery as the state weatherization program, so customers must interact with only one program.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Self Direct and Opt-Out Programs List All

For electric energy efficiency, there are three self-direct options available statewide: SMEEP (Self-Managed Energy Efficiency Program), CCP (Customer Credit Program) and ESA (Energy Savings Accounts). SMEEP is also available for the one eligible gas customer.

The SMEEP options require prospective participants or their successors to have contributed $1.5 million to the Energy Efficiency Fund in 2008 or 2017 through the Efficiency Charge added on their electric costs to meet the requirements. Currently there are two customers in the program. Additionally, an eligible customer must commit to investing a minimum of $3 million over a three-year program cycle. For SMEEP electric, an eligible customer must demonstrate that it has a comprehensive energy management program with annual objectives or demonstrate that it has achieved certification of ISO standard 14001. They then provide a report to the PUC detailing the measures undertaken, estimated savings and related costs. These reports are then reviewed and approved by the PSB. 

In addition, the Vermont PUC has established an option for eligible Vermont business customers to self-administer energy efficiency through the use of an Energy Savings Account (ESA) or the Customer Credit Program. These funds are still paid into the VEEUF and disbursed to the participants upon completion of an eligible energy efficiency measure. The ESA option allows Vermont businesses that pay an Energy Efficiency Charge (EEC) in excess of $5,000 total per year (or an average $5,000 total per year over three years) to use a portion of their EEC to support energy efficiency projects in their facilities. The ESA is run through the Efficiency Vermont program and related savings are reported and verified through the Savings Verification mechanism.

For CCP, eligible customers must be ISO 14001-certified and meet several conditions similar to Energy Star for industrial facilities. For natural gas energy efficiency, eligible only for transmission and industrial electric and natural gas ratepayers. A pilot program has been developed to allow customers selected through a competitive process to be able to self-direct a large portion of the funds collected through the electric EEC paid by that customer to both electric and thermal energy efficiency projects. This pilot is capped at $2 million annually.

Last reviewed: July 2020

Data AccessList All

Guidelines for Third Party Access

Act 62 of 2019 required that "on request of the owner of a multiunit building or the owner’s designated agent, each distribution company and energy efficiency utility shall aggregate monthly energy usage data in its possession for the unit holders in the building and release the aggregated data to the owner or agent." 

Last reviewed: August 2020

Score: 9 out of 13
Transportation Summary List All

The state has tailpipe emissions standards and complete streets legislation in place, and integrates transportation and land use planning.

Tailpipe Emission Standards List All

Vermont adopted California’s Low-Emission Vehicle Program in 2005, committing to a 30% reduction in average new vehicle greenhouse gas emissions from 2002 levels by 2016. The state has also adopted California's Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program, which requires increasing production of plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and fuel-cell vehicles from 2018 to 2025. 

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Transportation System Efficiency List All

Transportation and Land Use Integration: The state of Vermont enacted Act 250 in 1970 as a means to implement a permitting system to limit urban sprawl and inefficient development. In 1988, the state passed a growth management act to provide local municipalities with the necessary resources and funds to plan adequately for the future. The growth management act also served to coordinate state, regional and local efforts to target sound development practices. All local development plans must abide by 16 rules outlined in the Municipal and County Government statutes (link).

VMT Targets: 30 VSA §218c requires the publication and adoption of a Comprehensive Energy Plan. The 2016 CEP sets a goal to (1) maintain per-capita VMT remain at or below 2011 levels, (2) reduce VMT through transportation choices and increasing transportation efficiency, and (3) reduce GHG by increasing the share of renewable energy in the transportation sector to 10% by 2025 and to 80% by 2050.

FAST Freight Plans and Goals: Vermont has a state freight plan that identifies a multimodal freight network, but it does not include freight energy or greenhouse gas reduction goals. Vermont is one of the few states to include a comprehensive discussion of freight sector performance measures and offer a proposal for implementation.

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Transit Funding List All

Funding for public transit and for the Transportation Alternatives Program is specified in the annual transportation bill using a mix of state and federal sources. The Fiscal Year 2020 (Act 59 of 2019) included funding for 23 bicycle and pedestrian projects and $36.8 million in total for public transit operations and capital investments, including the purchase of four all-electric buses.  

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Incentives for High-Efficiency Vehicles List All

Financial incentives are available for the purchase or lease of electric vehicles (including BEV and PHEV). These include electric utility incentives and a state incentive program for low- and moderate-income residents acquiring new and used plug-in electric vehicles. Separately, a state incentive program reduces the cost for low income Vermonters purchasing used, high efficiency (≥40 MPG) internal combustion vehicles.

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Equitable Access to TransportationList All

Vermont does not have any state programs in place to incentivize the creation of low-income housing near transit facilities, but it does consider the proximity of transit facilities when distributing federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to qualifying property owners. In addition, the Act 250 statewide land use law for major projects supports providing safe access and connections to transit networks and services under Criterion 5(B).

Last Reviewed: November 2022

Appliance Standards
Score: 2.5 out of 3
Appliance Standards Summary List All

Description: In May 2018, Vermont passed bill H.410, An Act relating to adding products to Vermont's energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment. The new law adopts efficiency standards for 16 products: 

Policy: 9 V.S.A. § 2791, et seq., Energy Efficiency Standards for Appliances and Equipment

Description: In May 2017, Vermont passed bill H.411, An Act Relating to Miscellaneous Energy Issues. The new law provides that the state will enforce federal standards if they are “withdrawn, repealed or otherwise voided” at the federal level. Efficiency measures protected by the new Vermont law include all standards on the federal books as of January 17, 2017, including ones that have yet to take effect, like the light bulb standards slated for 2020. In February 2006 Vermont passed bill H.0253, An Act Relating to Establishing Energy Efficiency Standards For Certain Appliances, which created energy efficiency standards for appliances. The Act created standards for seven products, which have since been preempted by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

Last Reviewed: June 2019

State Appliance Standards List All

Standards adopted in 2018: air compressors, commercial dishwashers, commercial fryers, commercial hot-food holding cabinets, commercial steam cookers, computers and computer monitors, faucets, high CRI fluorescent lamps, portable air conditioners, portable electric spas, residential ventilating fans, showerheads, spray sprinkler bodies, uninterruptible power supplies, urinals, and water coolers.