Weatherization Grants

We all know that going “green” can actually put some green (money) back in your wallet, but we also know that before that savings can begin, the initial investment must be recouped. Some major enhancements to the home such as installing a wind turbine or solar array can take many years to pay for themselves. Others that make the home more energy efficient can pay for themselves relatively quickly. And if we reduce or eliminate that initial cost with weatherization grants, tax credits and rebates, we are all the better off!

  • Grants for Weatherization. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program works with states and local governments to enable low-income families to decrease their energy bills by making their homes energy-efficient.

  • Tax Credits. Eligible improvements to your home will enable you to take advantage of a federal tax credit of 30% of the cost. Some products must be purchased in 2009 or 2010 to take the credit. Others are expected to extend to 2016. Some credits are limited to $1,500 whereas others have no limit. Check with your tax return preparer for advice on how this will affect you. Also check with your state as they may also have a tax credit in place.

  • Rebates. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides for $300 million in rebates for new energy-efficient appliances that replace used ones. Each state will be determining when their program will run – for example, in Florida the program will run for ten days beginning April 16, 2010

  • State Initiatives. There are two databases of state initiatives – renewable energy and energy efficiency. You can check the database for your state by clicking on your state on www.dsireusa.org.

  • Utility Companies. Many utilities offer a range of energy-efficient services to their customers such as rebates for replacing an old A/C system or adding insulation.

  • HUD. HUD recognizes how utility costs inflict a disproportionate weight on the poor. With reports showing that utility cutoffs cause homelessness, energy efficiency is especially critical in low-income housing. While we are not yet seeing HUD weatherization grants, we will see effective HUD programs using funds from the Recovery Act.

Any step one takes to make their home more energy efficient will eventually pay off. And some things like weather stripping that eliminates drafts can do more than save money – they make your home more comfortable and can protect against illness. Some improvements will even increase the value of the home so you recoup money when you sell it as well. Just take a bit of time before you get started to see what programs exist to help you pay for it.

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