Funding Energy Efficiency Projects
March 02, 2009
The idea of owning a more efficient home—and paying lower utility bills—has widespread appeal, but finding ways to fund needed energy efficiency improvements can be difficult during hard economic times. Fortunately, there are several ways to recover some of your expenses when planning your next project.
Through the Federal Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, Uncle Sam offers a personal tax credit of up to $500 for energy efficiency upgrades made to existing homes this year. You can recover up to 10 percent of the cost of adding insulation materials and exterior doors, windows, and roofs designed to help reduce your home’s heat loss or gain.
Want to install a new air-source heat pump or central air conditioner? Your credit could be as much as $300. The benefit covers up to 100 percent of the cost for qualifying heating and cooling units, with a maximum credit of $500 for all improvements.
In addition, other federal incentives are available. A geothermal heat pump is expensive, but may qualify for a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the installation cost if the project is approved by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation or ENERGY STAR, depending on the project. Geothermal units carry a $2,000 limit. Check with Southern Pine for more information on geothermal units.
Some electric cooperatives and state government offices offer further subsidies or rebates to consumers who want to make their home more energy efficient. For a listing of state and local energy assistance available, visit the Database for State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, a project funded by the U. S. Department of Energy, at www.dsireusa.org. For details on how the right appliances can help you cut your electric bills, visit www.energystar.gov.