Are you looking for ways to save energy – and make sure you save money, too? One of the best solutions is utility programs that award you with rebates and discounts based on your energy-friendly practices. The key is finding the right kind of programs that apply to you, specifically. Let’s talk about what to look for in your area.
Understand that these utility and rebate programs can vary greatly based on your climate. Every climate has unique energy requirements (along with different politics, business relationships, etc.). For example, cool roof rebates – which were common several years ago – affect primarily hotter climates but can actually do more harm than good in colder, snowy climates. If you live in a hot and arid climate, check for local cool roof savings. If your climate is colder, look for furnace assessment and loan programs to see if switching to a new furnace or fuel type can net you useful savings.
Generally speaking, loan and advice/assessment programs are more common in the southern United States, while direct rebates and incentives are more common in the western portion of the country. The good news is that there are a variety of options no matter where you live: Take look at your regional energy organizations like SWEEP for the Southwest or SEEA for the Southeast to find out more information about broader opportunities.
State by State
The state you live in has a tremendous effect on what rebates and savings you quality for. If you are lucky enough to live in a state like California, you can access features like climate credits which decrease your monthly utility payments just for living in a state that has policies fighting global warming, as well as numerous other rebates, tax credits, and forms of savings. Colorado is also a great place to find energy-related savings with the Denver Office of Sustainability leading the way for businesses and residential areas.
Start by looking for an energy organization responsible for your state. The Energy Trust offers savings in Oregon, Clean Energy Program provides options in New Jersey, and so on. These state sites are a great spot to find out about easy rebates.
Joint Programs Between Cities and Utilities
Rebates are even more common today thanks to joint programs between cities and utilities. For example, the Power Service Company of Oklahoma has a great deal that offers discounts for a variety of home renovations as long as you use the right contractors and materials. Milwaukee provides residential finance programs to save money on smart home projects, AFCFirst makes buying Energy Star appliances in NYC easier. Tuscan Electric in Arizona offers rebates for UV filtering windows, etc.
Most cities will keep a database of current programs available on the government website, or can at least direct you to the right organization. You may also get flyers and emails about these programs from your local utility companies, so maybe that newsletter is worth a read! Keep in mind, however, that energy programs tend to change rapidly and often impose time limits to qualify for rebates. Pay particular attention to when programs end, and when you need to have your project completed – call in if it looks like a program is already over. Just because something is listed on a government or utility website does not mean it is up to date.
Appliance rebates are some of the easiest and most effective energy savings programs around. First, you buy a new appliance, typically a refrigerator, HVAC unit, fan, insulation project, etc. Then you tell your local utility company that you did so, typically via a form. Then, you immediately get a certain amount of money off that appliance. This can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars in savings, depending on the program. The best example of an appliance rebate is the long, long list created by the energy companies of California, which shows what you can save on and how to immediately apply for programs.
Taking the time to understand and investigate different opportunities for rebates will ultimate pay off with even more savings than just your monthly bill! If you make changes to improve your home’s energy efficiency, you’ll see major benefits in the short term and long term.