Financial Incentives for Improving Energy Efficiency
As we learn more about the details of the new economic stimulus package, consumers are finding that there’s help available for those of us who want to make our homes more energy efficient. It’s no surprise, of course, that utilities companies and businesses selling energy-efficient products would be among the first to spread this information.
Blue Planet Green Living received an email yesterday telling us that Andy Armstrong at Johnson Controls had posted a blog, “So What’s In the Stimulus Package for You and Me?” detailing some of the advantages of the new legislation. We were pleased to discover that Armstrong’s blog is both helpful and informative. But, if you’re seriously considering new appliance purchases or alternative energy installations, you won’t want to stop there.
As you investigate which product(s) to purchase for your home or business, be sure to check the ENERGY STAR website, sponsored jointly by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE). “Energy efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing features, style or comfort. ENERGY STAR helps you make the energy efficient choice,” according to the EPA/DOE’s website.
For information on state-specific tax incentives and rebates that might help you pay for energy-efficient products or alternative energy for your home or business, one place to look is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) website. Be sure to check on the page to see when the site was updated for your local information; it’s different for each program.
For example, in looking up Iowa, I found that the posted announcement about our local utility company’s program had expired. After calling the utility company, I found they have a page on their site that tells about “rebates for each newly installed energy-efficient natural gas furnace, natural gas boiler, natural gas water heater, central air conditioner, air-source heat pump, ground-source heat pump, refrigerator, freezer, clothes washer and dishwasher.” And that expiration date, like many other states’, is 12/31/09.
You may find that your energy company is offering reduced-rate financing for energy-efficiency improvements. But make sure you understand what you’re offered before you make a purchase. In our case, what at first glance appeared to be a sweet combination of loan and rebates turned out to be either a low-interest loan or six-months-same-as-cash terms or a product rebate. Consumers have to make the choice.
Whether you decide to purchase an energy-efficient appliance from Johnson Controls or someone else, as Andy Armstrong says, “The bottom line is this: add up the tax credits, rebates and the money you’ll be saving on your utility bills, and you could end up paying back the cost of a new furnace in as little as two years.”
If you can afford the initial investment, this is an opportune time to do it. Replacing old, inefficient appliances or installing alternative energy systems makes economic sense for your family and ecologic sense for the planet.
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