Energy efficiency, sustainability and going green have become important buzz words in the push to educate people about the importance of reducing the dependence on non-renewable resources. Washington D.C. has even taken up the fight by creating both the ENERGY STAR and Homestar Energy Efficiency Retrofit programs. Due to the efforts of lawmakers, saving electricity at home has become an easy way to save money. All it takes is a conscious effort to invest in energy-saving home improvements.
Thanks to HOMESTAR, the government is offering rebates up to $3,000 for people who retrofit their homes in an energy-efficient manner. Simple updates like insulation upgrades, duct sealing, HVAC units, water heaters, roofing and doors allow homeowners to be eligible for 50 percent rebates up to $1,000 to $1,500. Qualifying for a $3,000 rebate requires a comprehensive energy retrofit, with the expectation of reducing home energy use by at least 20 percent. But before setting out to take advantage of either rebate, it’s recommended for each home to undergo an energy efficiency audit performed by a Building Performance Institute (BPI) building analyst certified professional or a Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) qualified rater (or an approved equivalent). Aside from the rebate program, government numbers suggest homes undergoing energy retrofits are in for an annual $200 to $500 savings on energy cost.
Want to take part but are not looking to make full-blown changes to your home? Take advantage of state rebate programs like ENERGY STAR offered in Arizona providing rebates for purchasing energy-efficient appliances. It’s important to look for the ENERGY STAR logo on all appliances before making your purchase since these products are made to use 15 to 30 percent less energy and water than standard models. Some products, like ENERGY STAR qualified fluorescent lighting use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than normal incandescent lights. Energy-saving requirements are not as high for appliances like refrigerators (20 percent minimum energy savings) and dishwashers (41 percent). Yet, these aren’t even the major contributors to a home’s energy use. According to numbers provided by ENERGY STAR, home heating and cooling costs account for 46 percent of home electricity usage and adding an ENERGY STAR heater or air conditioner is expected to save at least 10 percent over standard HVAC systems.
Whether living in the blustery cold Northeast, or the unforgiving heat of the Southwest, it’s important to start the energy-saving process by getting a strong grasp on your home’s energy efficiency. Luckily for those of you in the San Diego to Phoenix area, there are tons of energy initiatives available. Begin by contacting a local BPI certified energy efficiency auditing company for an initial residential energy audit if you live in Arizona. You’ll receive recommendations on how to reduce your home’s energy use and will begin making money through energy efficiency.
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