>> Tuesday, May 12, 2009
This post was included in Carnival of the Green #180 at the Ethical Superstore.
Have you ever heard the saying, "The easiest way to make a million dollars is with a million dollars." In other words, if you already have a million dollars, it's easy to make the next million. The hard part is coming up with that first million.
Sometimes, home improvements in energy efficiency can seem similar. Although energy efficiency is an investment that will pay back over time, you can't earn the savings without first spending some money upfront. And especially now with the economy tanking, it can be scary to part with that initial investment.
But there are some methods available to help you finance your energy efficiency improvements.
How to find the money...
Federal Tax Credits
As part of the new Stimulus bill, you can get lots of money back through tax credits by improving your home's energy efficiency.
According to Energy Star:
- Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 & 2010 (for existing homes only) for:
- Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, with no upper limit through 2016 (for existing homes & new construction) for:
Many utility companies provide low-interest loans for energy-efficient improvements to your home, such as this one, and this one, and this one. Check out your own utility or energy company for more information. If you live in Raleigh, here's the scoop from Progress Energy's page.
Weatherization Assistance Program
20 to 30 million Americans may be eligible for this program, which provides services to weatherize homes for low-income families. The program includes a home energy audit, an assessment of a home's energy use, and recommendations for weatherization improvements for the home. The average value of improvements is $2,500.
The Department of Energy states,"Some measures, such as insulating your walls or roof, for example, will continue to provide you savings for the lifetime of your house—30 years or more. Others, such as making your heating or cooling equipment more efficient, will provide savings for 10 to 15 years. On average, the value of the weatherization improvement to your house is 2.2 times greater than the cost of the improvement itself."
How to spend the money...
If you have limited funds to work with, you may be unsure where you'd get the most bang for your buck. A professional energy audit would tell you where to start. Or you can check out this chart I found from the Rocky Mountain Institute. It's from 2002, but the information is still useful.