The Indiana Office of Energy Development lays out its vision for program delivery. (From office’s presentation slides)
The Indiana Office of Energy Development lays out its vision for program delivery. (From office’s presentation slides)
Struggling with your energy bills?

Two forthcoming initiatives worth $182 million could offer Hoosier households up to $14,000 each in discounts for home energy efficiency upgrades.

The federally funded pair of programs could benefit thousands: single-family and multi-family inhabitants, owners and renters alike.

But first, planners want input — via listening sessions and online comments — on how to design and implement the programs to better serve Indiana residents.

“We really believe these program funds are going to have a significant impact for a lot of Hoosiers, and we want to make sure that we make the process as efficient, as simple and as easy as we can to deliver those funds,” Indiana Office of Energy Development Director Ryan Hadley said.

Congress created the programs through the Inflation Reduction Act, enacted in 2022. The U.S. Department of Energy spent a year developing guidelines for states to use.

Since then, Indiana has obtained administrative funding and awarded a $1.4 million contract to consultant Egis Group to put the program together — including stakeholder engagement.

“We would really appreciate any insight folks can have,” Hadley said.

Hoosiers could begin applying for discounts late this year, depending on when Indiana gets federal approval.

The programs

The first initiative, called the Home Efficiency Rebate Program deals with whole-home upgrades and retrofits.

It would include air sealing, insulation, heat-pumps and more.

When Hoosiers apply, Hadley said, “We’ll actually send an energy auditor to your home. That energy auditor will conduct his or her assessment and … produce a report, and that report will point out some key investment opportunities to help that home save energy and have a positive return on that investment.”

Residents would be able to choose from among the suggested upgrades and retrofits, according to Hadley — and they’d get the discount at the time of purchase.

Rebates are typically a way to promote sales: retailers offer customers who purchase their products retroactive partial refunds. That’s not how the programs would work.

“The federal legislation calls them rebates, but it’s kind of a misnomer,” Hadley said. “… So there will be no mailing of things. A customer is not going to be expected to pay the full purchase price of a product and then hope for a rebate to come.”

The discount amount would depend on how much energy the changes save. And, households earning less than 80% of their area’s median income (AMI) could stand to save more money.

The second program, called the Home Appliance Rebate Program focuses on high-efficiency appliance replacements like clothes dryers, stoves, heat pumps, and some electrical upgrades.

“Those types of appliances that have generally a higher energy usage, this provides an opportunity for customers to be able to swap those out for more efficient appliances to help them reduce their utility bills and reduce energy consumption overall,” Hadley said.

It’s only for moderate- and low-income households earning less than 150% of their AMI. Like the first program, households earning less than 80% of their AMI would be eligible for higher discounts.

The maximum amount of savings, as laid out in the federal legislation, is $14,000 across both programs.

Nailing down the details

Although federal legislation and guidelines provides states an outline and requirements for the programs, Haldey said there are plenty of details left to work out.

Renters can apply for the programs, for example, with their property owner’s permission. But in a multi-family abode, participation can get more complicated.

“We’re thinking, generally, more more targeted outreach and engagement, and going to folks and saying, ‘Hey, you or your tenants and/or your tenants are eligible for these programs. Here’s what they are, here’s how you can participate,'” Hadley said. “(It’s) more of a … guided and facilitated … approach to getting these applications across the finish line.”

But how will those applications look? That’s what program designers hope to collect feedback on.

“A lot of what we’re trying to do at these public meetings is to get that (information) and engage with with tenants, right? We want to understand how best we can communicate with them and with their landlords,” Hadley added.

He had a lengthy list of other remaining questions:

  • Application intake: Optimized for cell phone applicants? With print forms?
  • Customer support: A call center? Online chats?
  • Driving awareness: Digital advertisements? Television advertisements? Talking with nonprofits? Talking with churches? What other organizations?

Program designers hope to build rapport with potential participants, especially elderly Hoosiers, low-income households and others straining to pay utility bills.

“Not every community appreciates when we say, ‘We’re from the government and we’re here to help,'” Hadley said, referencing a 1986 speech by former President Ronald Reagan.

“How can we get you the support that these programs provide, and what are the best ways to raise awareness for your neighbors and your community as a whole?” Hadley continued.

His office has already conducted a virtual kickoff and an in-person listening event in Gary. Four more are set for this month, according to the office’s website:

  • Indianapolis on Tuesday, June 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time. It’ll be held at the Indiana Historical Society’s Frank and Katrine Basile Theatre, located at 450 W. Ohio St. Register here.
  • Evansville on Thursday, June 13, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Central Time. Attendees will meet at the C.K. Newsome Community Center, located at 100 E. Walnut St. Register here.
  • Fort Wayne on Tuesday, June 25, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 Eastern Time. It’ll be held at the Ivy Tech Coliseum Campus’ room CC1640, located at 3800 N. Anthony Blvd. Register here.
  • Virtual closing session on Thursday, June 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time. Registration information is yet to be posted.

Hoosiers can also submit comments or suggestions through an online form, and can send questions about the programs to

Hadley says his office hopes to submit its plans to the U.S. Department of Energy for approval in July. Depending on how long federal approval takes, he’s aiming to take the programs live late this year or early next.
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