Energy efficiency incentives, rebates and tax credits are all powerful strategies to buy down the cost of home energy projects. This page focuses on energy efficiency incentives, which, because of the overlap in the money pots from federal and local governments, is categorized together.
There are many initiatives to promote energy efficiency to the homeowner. Green is really becoming the new slogan in trendiness. And who better than the government to drive the point home, by putting money where their mouths are. There are incentives for improving insulation levels in homes, weatherizing (Cash for Caulkers), upgrading windows, and replacing home heating systems, etc. Even more, there are programs that allow homeowners to buy Energy Star Appliances at reduced costs through rebates, buy green electricity, get lower utility rates by participating in voluntary conservation, you name it.
While government websites are like beehives with honey just too far out of reach of the lay-person, there really aren't too many programs that homeowners qualify for or need to worry about. Most of these energy efficiency incentives apply to businesses, manufacturers, and institutions.
You ask "Where Can I Find a List of Programs I Qualify For?"
Here it is below. Enter your zip code to find incentives in your region for energy efficiency and renewable energy. This searches a database called DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) from the Department of Energy that contains all the programs from federal down through state, local, municipal, and utility companies. If only more people knew about it...
You can also visit DSIREUSA.org for a current list of all government and utility energy incentives and energy credits programs. This site is a North Carolina collaborative project and serves as a portal to other sites. It is constantly updated for consumers and businesses. All active programs per state are listed, along with enough detail on each program and its requirements to help you identify funding.
Almost all states in the U.S. and Canada as well as much of Europe and the East provide homeowners with programs that essentially cost-share energy efficiency projects. In the U.S., outreach efforts for energy rebates so far, have been patchy and most homeowners still are either not aware of these programs, or do not know how to apply for them to receive their rebates after installation of the energy improvements. That is a major challenge to overcome and is discussed in the "Challenges" section of this website.
When reviewing the programs, remember to check the expiration or closing date. Many programs start with a set amount of money to finance projects, and once the reservoir is dry, the program closes. Other programs have a set expiration date regardless of the money. Sometimes, depending on their effectiveness, these programs get renewed, and other times, the money just rolls over to a new program.
A note worth mentioning about utility programs. Many utility companies offer homeowners energy audits that help identify improvements and also provide energy efficiency grants for installing new heating/cooling equipment. It is worthwhile to contact your utility company to find out and compare the different types of programs available with government programs.
If you find it difficult to identify or decipher the programs you might qualify for, contact me. I would be happy to help.
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